Evenings in the Madawaska Valley are often punctuated with the sun’s soft pink and orange hues setting on Paugh Lake.
The distinct Ottawa Valley scene is where you could find Gail Chapeskie sitting on the dock with a book in one hand and a spicy Caesar in the other. It’s where Chapeskie would consume any book she could get her hands on — piles of love stories or murder mysteries.
Cheryl Reid, a family friend, describes frequently stumbling on the book juggling Chapeskie when visiting the lake. After becoming close friends with Chapeskie over the last six years, Reid spearheaded a group rallying for Chapeskie’s health called “team Gail”.
Team Gail, a group of about 12 people, would drive Chapeskie to and from Ottawa for six weeks of radiation treatment months before she passed away on Feb. 28.
“The community just really rallied together to drive her to and from Ottawa every day and just made it as easy and great for her as they possibly could,” says Casey Palumbo, Chapeskie’s daughter. “I think she was just super grateful to all of her family and friends.”
Reid says she cherishes the one-on-one time with Chapeskie during their five-hour day trips. The time allowed for the pair’s relationship to blossom further.
“For all of us who shared in that experience — we all got to know her on a deeper level,” said Reid. “And it was pretty, it was pretty awesome.”
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