Yvonne Joan Hassett was born on July 2, 1933, in Admiral, Saskatchewan. After qualifying as a registered nurse at Moose Jaw Union Hospital, she nursed in Swift Current and in Jamaica. She then spent several years as a public health nurse in the Maple Creek area, working with Aboriginal people, the disabled, the elderly, and with schools. She lived on the family farm near Maple Creek and raised four daughters.
In 1984, Hassett began a second career as a volunteer. Active in the Canadian Cancer Society, she became a prime mover in CanSurmount, which offers counselling and support to cancer patients and their families. She arranged fund raising, speakers, educational and support meetings, and hospital and home visiting. On her own time and at her own expense she also visited seniors, shut-ins, and the bereaved. Widely admired for her generosity and kindness, she was an inspiration and support to countless persons suffering from cancer and terminal illness and to their families. She received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 1991.