Loss of Hope devastates family and friends
AFTER defying the odds and fighting until the end a young Bundaberg mother has lost her battle with a rare cancer.
Hope Butcher passed away on Australia Day, holding her daughters' hands, after fighting a neuroendocrine cancer for two years.
She had been given less than 12 months to live when she was diagnosed in 2015 and told her cancer was terminal.
The 29-year-old leaves behind three daughters Shanley, Chelsea and Heidi, and her husband, Jamie.
At this time Hope knew she was going to die and wanted to let people know she was okay with it and just wanted to make the most of life.
Her story was shared around the Queensland with people taking Hope's strength into their own lives.
She didn't let anyone down as Cafe House in the Northway Plaza, North Bundaberg, opened its doors and was later voted the place with the best milkshakes in Bundaberg.
Hope lived in Bundaberg for seven years and became known through her fitness instructing at a local gym before she was diagnosed with cancer and had to stop.
A primary school friend and one of Hope's bridemaids, Alex McKay, was there when she took her last breath.
Alex said Hope was the sort of person to light up the whole room with her smile when she walked in.
She said Hope was surrounded by close family including her three girls and close friends when she died at her Bundaberg home.
Toward the end, Alex said, doctors were only able to offer palliative care and pain medication to help keep Hope comfortable. She would sleep up to 20 hours a day.
"They had a quiet Christmas at home as Hope knew it would be her last,” Alex said.
"She was busy creating memories for the girls to keep.
"She knew her time was going to end soon and would tell the girls she was fine, just very sleepy.”
During her fight a group of Bundaberg mothers and friends banded together to support the family.
They held raffles and movie days to help with costs of travel and treatment.
As news of Hope's death spread across Facebook, people left messages of sadness and sent love and prays to her girls and husband.
Hope's wish was to spend as much time with the girls as possible and she stayed strong until the end.
When Hope spoke with the NewsMail last year she shared her story about being a young mother who was diagnosed with a terminal cancer.
She said after the birth of her third daughter she put on weight and extensive exercise could not shift it.
But the then-27-year-old never thought she would have cancer.
She had symptoms including flushed cheeks, vomiting, digestive issues and serious pain.
The slow-growing cancer spread from her pancreas, where it was when she was diagnosed, to her liver and then to her spine and hip.
The doctors gave her less than 12 months to live but she proved them wrong, and spent her remaining days filling her life with love and laughter at any opportunity.
As the tributes came in, one friend said the day would now be known as Hope Day, and she would be remembered fondly by many.
Alex has set up a GoFundMe page to help support the family and give Hope "the beautiful send-off she deserved”.
"I'm sure the girls will need things in life as they grow up without a mother and I hope we can help them,” Alex said.
"I'm hoping to make a hamper of voucher for the family, just to keep them going.”
The GoFundMe page can be found at www.gofundme.com/a-day-of-hope
Cafe House has now been placed on the market. For details, visit the Cafe House Facebook page.