RICHMOND, Va. -- Glynis Boyd-Hughes lost her 38-year-old daughter Gabrielle, who was known as Gabe to those who loved her, to breast cancer in April.
"Just sometimes I catch myself like, 'How can the world still be going on and you’re not in it?'" Boyd-Hughes said.
Three weeks after a terminal diagnosis, the mom of three was out of her job as a certified nursing assistant.
Boyd-Hughes is heartbroken thinking about how much her daughter was dealing with.
"As I’ve been going through her things, suddenly things I found out that she actually had planned to have a friend drive her to work, like a couple months before, because whatever the things going on with her, she wasn’t connecting it to cancer," Boyd-Hughes said.
Gabe passed away from triple negative breast cancer, the same disease that claimed the life of her sister Nicole a few years prior.
That is why she is on a mission to raise awareness about the disease, encouraging everyone to know their family history and potential health risks.
Boyd-Hughes said that even as her daughter battled the disease, Gabe put everyone else’s needs before hers.
"I think maybe if she could have gotten care sooner, and she thought she could pay her bills and didn’t have to depend on her family," Boyd-Hughes said.
Mom watched Gabe faithfully working a job helping hospice patients, despite her own need for care. She wanted to ensure she could still provide for her three sons, so before she died, Gabe urged her parents to sell her prized shoe collection for her family.
"She has so many and we’ve only put some on there," Boyd-Hughes said. "The plan is to put 20% for each of the boys, 20% for the household expenses and 20% to donate — half to Massey and half to St. Francis hospice."
So her husband created a website, Gabe’s Kicks For a Cause, to sell her collection.
The family is determined Gabe’s death won’t be in vain. That is why her mom added an extra touch to her daughter’s memorial service.
Boyd-Hughes coordinated with Massey Cancer Center experts to set up a cancer awareness display table and provide a mental health resource table for anyone who needed it. She put valuable life-saving information at the fingertips of those who knew and loved Gabe.
"She was really sick, but she was taking time out think about me and other people, too," Boyd-Hughes said.
Mom and family members are hopeful that bringing awareness about triple negative breast cancer could help someone else.. Another way they continue to honor Gabe for the heart she had to help others.
If you’d like to support Gabe’s Kicks for A Cause, click here to learn more.