Orkney teen passes after contracting rare mosquito virus while in Australia | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 12 Apr 2024 11am

Orkney teen passes after contracting rare mosquito virus while in Australia


    A funeral service was held Saturday in Drumheller after a 19 year old Orkney woman died in Calgary last week after contracting the mosquito-borne Murray Valley encephalitis virus, the first case found in Alberta.

    Carlie Bell, “an all around great, great gal” as described by a family friend, passed away after contracting the illness while in Australia.
    She had been in New Zealand on a work exchange for six months, and after finishing in mid-April she travelled to Australia for a 10 day vacation. She arrived in Calgary on May 13 and fell ill with a high fever and fatigue a few days later, family spokesperson Sweis Ubels told The Mail.
    She passed away on Monday, May 23 in a Calgary hospital. Australian media reported she likely contracted the disease in the country's northern territory.
    “When people pass away, everyone has good things to say about them. But if you were to ask me, before she passed away, ‘who the best people in the world are?’, I would’ve given her name,” said Ubels, a preacher in Orkney who has known the Bell family for nearly a decade.
    “She really was just top notch – always thinking of other people and putting them before herself. Incredibly caring, looking out for the outsider and the down-and-out.”
    She was a Calgary Herald Class Act recipient last year for her work at Three Hills school and in the community.
    “The family is just devastated,” said Ubel. “When I preached at the service this weekend, I asked people to consider why Carlie was so amazing. From my perspective, she had written in her notebook about her personal relation with Jesus and it just flowed through her and other people. It really made her such an incredible young woman.”
    Ubels said her love of God was something she carried through every aspect of her life.
    “She was a great young woman and she will be missed, my goodness,” said Ubels. “It breaks your heart.”
    Carlie aspired to become a teacher. “She took a year off to enjoy some of life’s experiences.”
    She was involved in the Orkney Presbyterian Church, 4-H, and student council at Three Hills school.
    Over 550 people attended the funeral services at the Church of the Nazarene on Saturday. She is survived by her parents, her grandparents, Joyce Bell, and Ruth and Gus Wahl, her sister Kirsti Ann, brothers Nathan and Evan, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.   

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