REGINA -- Regina parents are remembering long-time pre-natal coach Sally Elliott, who died Sunday after a battle with cancer

For more than 30 years, Elliott educated and helped new parents prepare for childbirth and parenting at Regina's YMCA.

"Sally was truly one-of-a-kind and her legendary impact was felt by so many across the community," the YMCA said in a social media post. "Her passion for supporting mother, baby and family is unmatched and unique in our city."

Along with being a pre and post-natal birth instructor, Elliott held several groups for moms, taught Aquasize classes for expecting mothers and helped those struggling with post-partum anxiety and depression.

"The work that she did was probably the very best of the Y," Regina YMCA CEO Steve Compton said.

Many people expressed their condolences and shared stories about how Elliott touched their lives.

Former Saskatchewa Party MLA Tina Beaudry-Mellor said she remembers a time she saw Elliott at the YMCA after her twins were born and Elliott asked her how she was doing.

"She saw me and she put her hands on my shoulders and she's like, 'How's it going?'" Beaudry-Mellor said. " I just started to cry. She said, 'What's wrong?' And I said, 'I can't breastfeed' and just sort of erupted."

Beaudry-Mellor said it was that conversation with Elliott where she learned it was okay that motherhood wasn't going how she planned.

"It just gave me permission to, do what works best for me at that time, and it was really uplifting in so many ways because I think we – all as new moms – feel the pressure to be the perfect mom."

Beaudry-Mellor played a role in Elliott's nomination for the Order of Merit last year.

"When I think about some of the discussions we've had in the last number of years about post-partum, Sally knew what that was long before anybody really started talking about it," Beaudry-Mellor "She made that a safe conversation to have." 

In 2020, after taking a step back from her role with the YMCA for personal reasons, the community raised more than $5,000 in Elliott's name to be donated to the labour unit at Regina's General Hospital. 

NDP MLA Nicole Sarauer and her husband attended Elliott's classes when they were expecting their firstborn.

She said Elliott's guidance and advice helped her through some difficult times.

"Sally was a rock in terms of helping me get through it, helping me grow as a person and as a mom," Sarauer said. "Her kindness was really inspiring."

Angie Evans is a doula in Regina and has known Elliott for ten years. She said she was always impressed with how Elliott remembered so many of the parents she helped.

"It just feels like there's just a disturbance in the Regina universe," Evans said. "She affected so many people."

Evans – who is also a birth coach like Elliott was – said there are many people in the city who can provide the same education Elliott did, but no one will able to provide the experience that Elliott did.

"I told (the YMCA) when Sally left that they would have to hire four people to replace her…because she did so much," Evans said. "That's the depth of her passion and education and knowledge. I don't know anyone else who would be that qualified to do all of that that she was doing."