Who was Gillian Berthelot...........besides the most amazing kid?
Gillian was a mountain of energy and she rarely had two feet on the ground! She had the most beautiful and contagious smile that shone as brightly as a rainbow. She was goofy, crazy, silly and always entertaining. And she had spunk! Gillian embraced life and she taught us all how to live, how to have fun, and how to stop and enjoy the small and innocent things in life.
Gillian was an amazing daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin and niece. She loved her brother and sister so much. She was forever trying to pick them up and carry them places. Once, when Gillian had just come home from the hospital after her first round of chemo, Ethan was 12 months old and just learning to walk. Gillian was nauseous from her chemo and laying on the couch holding a bucket. Ethan was carefully moving along the furniture when he decided to let go and take a few steps towards the coffee table. Gillian watching him closely, leapt up off the couch to catch him before he fell. No matter how sick she was, she always loved and looked out for her siblings.
Gillian was an amazing friend as well. She always cared about everyone and tried to make sure that everybody got along with one another. One of the things we miss the most was Gillian's ability to keep peace among the children - mostly because Madelyn can be a bit stubborn sometimes!
We had a few nicknames for Gillian. As a baby she started out as Gillie and it stuck. When she was four, we also called her Jiggs (from the Jillian Jiggs book series, which she loved) and G-Wilikins. Ethan called her "G-ja" when he was learning to talk and she adored that name. A few people called her Jill too. Her friends at Ooch called her Little G. But Gillie, and of course Gillie Beans, were the names we always came back to!
Gillian loved Panda Bears, dolphins and butterflies. Her favourite colours were turquoise blue, pink and purple. She LOVED to craft! Gillian was very artistic and enjoyed trying new types of art. She loved to paint and especially rainbows, which is part of the significance of our logo. Her favourite TV shows were Phineas and Ferb, Wizards of Waverly Place and when she was little it was Dora.
Gillian loved to sing and she constantly would hum or sing quietly no matter where she was. She would keep Madelyn up at night when they shared a room, and she would drive her classmates crazy because she would sing as she worked. Gillian loved to put on "shows" complete with full costumes and accessories for family and friends. She would make tickets for everyone to attend her shows. She loved to write her own songs and she was able to record a couple of them before she passed away.
Gillian loved the outdoors no matter the season. She loved to climb trees, especially the tree in our backyard. Gillian loved playing in the snow, tobogganing and ice skating. She could swim like a dolphin and spent hours swimming and performing in the water. In the fall Gillian loved to rake the leaves into a giant pile and jump over and over and over again! Gillian loved playing with her cousins and she loved jumping across the hay bales at her grandparent's farm. Although Gillian loved the outdoors, sports were not her thing. She tried soccer for a few years, but she really preferred to cheer on sister from the sidelines. She did enjoy gymnastics and leisure skating.
She LOVED all varieties of candy and treats! To say she had a sweet tooth is a bit of an understatement. She was a cinnamon and ginger girl and she loved grandma's baking. Her favourite restaurants were Swiss Chalet, Montana's (for the birthday embarrassment and the mini ice cream cones) and the Mandarin - for the dessert selection!
OOCH - Wow! Camp Oochigeas was the most amazing experience of our lives. Having cancer introduced Gillian to the magic of Camp Ooch. Gillian loved everything Ooch - rock climbing, crafts, water skiing and all of the independence that came from a week-long camp experience. The Ooch in-hospital team was a huge part of our cancer journey and they were our inspiration. Gillian would wake-up in the hospital, asking what the Ooch activity of the day was and what time it started.
Gillian was an amazing kid... but don't be completely fooled... she did manage to drive her parents crazy too! It usually went to the tune of "Gillian put him/her down!!" or, “Gillian stop bugging your sister” or “Gillian stop dancing in the mirror, we are late for school!”
We packed a lot into eight years with our Gillian. When she was sick with cancer we got to see how truly amazing and inspirational she really was. She taught us so much, and she lived life to the fullest. We were truly blessed for each moment that we were given with Gillian.
"Her contagious smile and love of life were a gift to us all. Let her smile shine through as a rainbow in our hearts."
C& J Berthelot, 2010