The funeral for Ashley Brear, who died Saturday, April 22 after a lengthy battle with cancer, was held at Christ Church Cathedral on Friday, May 5.

First diagnosed in September, 2003, Ashley died after a third recurrence of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that starts in the lymph system.  She was 22.

Consistently optimistic and upbeat during chemotherapy and other treatments, she was involved in numerous small and large events that raised in excess of $80,000 for cancer research in BC. She organized a “Keep on Swimming” gala in 2004 and a “Shorn on the Shore” event in 2005.

“She passed away as she lived,” said David Brear, her father, “with dignity, grace, and I have to say guts. She never once complained and she never gave up hope. She still took her pills the night before she died.”

In May of 2005 Ashley was recognized with a “Young Woman of Distinction Award” sponsored by the Vancouver YWCA. She was recognized for her courage several times, including a profile as an “Everyday Saint” in the Vancouver Sun and on television.

She baptised at St. Agnes, North Vancouver, a life-long member there, and participated in the parish pageant last Christmas. In the diocese she waselected to Diocesan Council as a youth member of Diocesan Council in 2002 for a two year term, and a Taizé pilgrim in 2003. She was a delegate to Diocesan Synod from St. Agnes four times.

She leaves her parents, David and Judy, her sister Heidi, a curate at Christ Church Cathedral, her brother Andrew, two grandparents, Brian, her boyfriend, Kathleen, a cousin she was especially close to, plus several aunts and uncles and cousins.

During the last year of her illness she documented her fight with the disease in a website journal, (found at In her last entry, March 6, she was still urging people to take action to help others – asking people to give blood at the Canadian Blood Service at its Oak Street or Surrey Branches in her name.

“We are trying to get 100 units in my name!!,” she wrote,. “Wouldn't that be amazing?!?!?! I use about that it would be so great to have it given back. Yesterday I sat in a room as 3 people received platelets that would keep them alive…”

The entry ends, “Thanks for all the amazing prayers... Love always, Ashley.”