About two years ago, in November 2008, my younger sister Sarah and I left our home in Sydney, Australia to live our dream of a winter in the Canadian snow. As some of you may know, I was fortunate enough to work for SPIN Newsmagazine for the winter of 2008-09 and Sarah became a favourite with locals and guests alike on the front desk at Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Lodge.
Following our blissful winter, we travelled around the world for the next six months and on our return home, Sarah turned around and went back for season number two in Sun Peaks. There she fell in love with a young Tasmanian, Dan. After the winter they both moved to the south of Australia and started working at Cradle Mountain Lodge, in the Tasmanian wilderness—probably the part of Australia that most resembles Canada!
A few weeks ago, on a short trip to visit family in Sydney, Sarah went to the hospital with suspected tonsillitis, only to be diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. She has been in hospital since Aug. 6, and has finished her first round of chemotherapy. We’re all now anxiously awaiting the results. She and Dan are looking forward to her speedy recovery so they can get back to Sun Peaks as soon as possible!
Anyone who’s met Sarah around the village or been lucky enough to be helped by her at the Cahilty will know that her sunny personality and happy nature is allowing her to face this battle with absolute strength and positivity.
The Leukaemia Foundation in Australia held their annual Light the Night fundraiser on Wednesday, Sept. 1 in North Sydney. The event involved people gathering together and lighting different coloured balloons simultaneously, each colour symbolizing either remembrance, celebration of survival or support for the cause. Sarah’s friends and family joined together to create a team for the event, together raising close to AUD $7,000 for the Foundation.
The Leukaemia Foundation has a dedicated website for the event, www.leukaemiafoundation.org.au, where supporters can leave comments for the team and their well wishes for Sarah. One of Sarah’s friends put it very well in saying, “love to Sarah Gillies—who can light up a room, and to everyone else who will light up the night”.
Sarah would love to continue to hear from any of her friends in Sun Peaks, and I would like to thank you all for the thoughts and well wishes we’ve already received from our very special place across the world.
Angie Gillies, Sydney – Australia