Celebration of life for teen who died in sailing mishap to be held today

The short and inspirational life of teenager Gabriel Pollard — an artist, foodie, mentor and animal lover — killed in a sailing mishap, is being remembered today at Pearkes Arena.

His family is welcoming people to come and share in “the joy and the gift that was Gabriel’s life.”

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Uncle Marcus Pollard remembers Gabriel, whose severe form of muscular dystrophy rendered him unable to walk and barely able to use his arms, as an inspiration because he turned everything in his life into a positive. He was also just fun to be around — an enthusiastic hockey and baseball fan, an equestrian, a romantic and “bon vivant,” he said.

Gabriel died in an accident on June 21. Having just finished sailing with the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria, he was being hoisted out of a Martin 16 sailboat onto his wheelchair at a dock in Esquimalt when the hand-winch sling carrying him broke loose and he fell onto the sailboat and into the water where staff struggled to retrieve him. He was pronounced dead in hospital. The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating.

Family and friends are being invited to celebrate Gabriel’s life today at the Pearkes Arena gym at 1 p.m.

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