‘A Chill Day for Children’ honors Sweet G’s breast cancer fight – L’Observateur

LAPLACE — Gaynelle Perrilloux Ellis’s family commemorated her strength and courage with an event that emphasized breast cancer awareness while supporting the community during one of life’s greatest storms.

Gaynelle died on February 6, 2020 at the age of 51 after a five-year battle with breast cancer. The first “Sweet G Pink Day Celebration” took the form of a memorial walk through Reserve in October 2020. This year, Gaynelle’s family honored her memory by preparing food for 500 people affected by Hurricane Ida.

The meals were handed out at the East St. John Preparatory Academy in LaPlace last weekend.

The event, called “Chill Day for Children,” placed a special focus on the smallest members of the community who have had their lives turned upside down since the storm. Each child received a gift bag with cookies, chips, candy and a coupon for a free Jr. Frosty at Wendy’s. Kids also enjoyed frozen slushies, music, and entertainment from volunteers dressed in wacky clown costumes.

While most hurricane relief initiatives have focused on adults, Gaynelle’s husband, Lamar Ellis, said it’s important to remember that children also carry the emotional impact of the storm.

While handing out snack bags to bring back happy childhood memories, Lamar was reminded of how Gaynelle went out of her way to take care of everyone around her.

She was the glue that held her family together, and she blessed them all with Sunday meals, heartfelt conversations, and unconditional love. Her nurturing personality earned her the nickname ‘Sweet G’.

She brought the same positive energy into her career at Ochsner, even as she fought for her own life. During an interview with L’OBSERVATEUR in 2019, Gaynelle said that cancer taught her to live each day to the fullest and never take the little things for granted.

Showing the importance of “everyday love” was a focus for Lamar at the Sweet G memorial event.

“Looking at the area after Hurricane Ida, we wondered how we could continue to raise awareness for breast cancer and support Gaynelle’s courage and strength. The hurricane is a devastating situation. Our own homes have been damaged by flooding, so we are rebuilding together with the community,” Lamar said. “We decided to try something different. We can wear pink for breast cancer with the awareness aspect, and we can also show Gaynelle’s power by helping the children she loved so much.”

Those who knew Gaynelle remember her as a devoted mother and grandmother, Lamar said.

He added: “When you do something to demonstrate Gaynelle, you are doing something that shows love and something that shows community support. If you want to specialize it, you do something with kids. Gaynelle genuinely loved people and had a special place in her heart for children.”

The Chill Day for Children turned out to be a celebratory event. Although it was held in a drive-thru format, some families chose to get out of their cars and join in the fun.

Elements of breast cancer awareness were also present. Frozen cup treats were pink and each goodie bag had inspirational stickers with messages of love, support and courage. “All Good Energy” was not only a motto for the event, but also in Lamar’s personal life.

The Chill Day for Children also saw support from elected officials, including parish president Jaclyn Hotard, Sheriff Mike Tregre and District Four Councilor Tyra Duhe-Griffin.

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