Family and friends are mourning the tragic death of 16-year-old Gabriel Pollard, a teenager with muscular dystrophy (MD).

The teen died on June 21 when a lift taking Gabriel out of a sailboat fell apart, dropping him onto the boat. An ambulance rushed Gabriel to hospital where he died of his injuries.

The family issued a statement following Gabriel’s passing.

“There are many, many unanswered questions surrounding his death.”

Pollard had a passion for sailing. He was a member of the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria.

He also spoke about living with muscular dystrophy. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the neuromuscular disorder as a toddler.

A video produced by The Cridge Centre for the Family on its respite and hospitality services featured Gabriel his mother Carrie.

“Gabe just turned 16. And he’s quite a character,” Carrie said in the video.

Gabriel spoke about using a wheelchair.

“I’m pretty outgoing. I do talk a lot and I’m always up for an adventure. Even though you are in this thing, a crip can still have fun,” Gabriel said in the video.

A member of the Disabled Sailing Association of Victoria, Gabriel often sailed solo.

The Cridge Centre provided respite for the family and staff knew Gabriel well, including Candace Stretch, manager of supportive housing and family services.

“They are just processing the loss. And still in a lot of shock,” Stretch said.  “He was just a remarkable kid. He was just determined. He was caring, compassionate kid. Really connected to his family.”

With dreams of a possible career in filmmaking, Gabriel recognized that going to the Cridge Centre gave his mom a break.

“They are helping take a burden or weight off my mom’s shoulders. Because she needs time for herself. Like, I know she loves me very much, and I know that she wants to be there for me all the time. But she needs, she needs a break.,” Gabriel said in the video.

A celebration of Gabriel’s life is scheduled for August 11 at Pearkes Arena at 1 p.m. A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with funeral expenses. 

Mary Griffin