A “beautiful, healthy and happy” Melbourne mum of three has lost her battle with an aggressive form of cancer just 16 days after suffering her first symptom.
Elizabeth Kelly died on December 15 — nine days after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma — leaving her husband AJ Kelly and their three children, Sienna, 7, and twins Fletcher and Scarlett, 5, heartbroken just before Christmas.
The 39-year-old initially went to the doctor with what she believed to be painful kidney stones, close family friend Russell Spear told Yahoo News Australia on Friday. “It turned out to be burst melanoma cells,” he said, with subsequent scans and blood tests revealing the mum was “in some serious trouble”.
Cancer was also discovered in her lungs, breast and spine, and it quickly spread further to her bones, lymphatic system and brain. Just four days before her death, Mrs Kelly started treatment with “the hope of a miracle”.
“It gave them time to throw some punches back at this thing but unfortunately the cancer was too severe and her body couldn’t handle it,” Mr Spear said. In the “most tragic and utterly heartbreaking of events”, a melanoma on the mum’s brain began to bleed and she died soon after.
Family, friends rally around devastated husband, kids
“Liz was only 39-years-of age, leaving behind her husband AJ and three beautiful children…[she] was taken from them a week before Christmas and three months before her darling twins have their first day of prep,” Mr Spear, who has been friends with AJ since age six, said in a GoFundMe he has created to help support the grieving family.
“Words can't describe the impact of the loss of such an incredible woman. Grief isn’t a strong enough word for what we feel.
“Liz didn’t even get a chance to fight this so we are asking our friends to help AJ and the kids fight everything that comes next. To navigate their way through this tremendously difficult time without the financial stress.”
Since her death was so sudden, Mr Spear said he's still trying to wrap his head around it and often expects to see his friend walk around the corner or give him a call.
The family friend described Mrs Kelly as a “beautiful, healthy lady” who was “vibrant and full of life”. “She did all the right things — ate well, rarely drank and exercised — but unfortunately this still happened. Cancer doesn’t discriminate,” he said.
Friends, family members and the community are now rallying around AJ and the couple’s three young children as they try and navigate the “long and bumpy road” ahead.
For more information about Melanoma, visit the Melanoma Institute Australia.
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