A spontaneous crowd funding campaign that saw friends, family and complete strangers donate more than $30,000 was sadly not enough to save a beloved Sydney woman from her 18-month battle against stage-four cancer.
In the first weeks of 2017, Leila Simpkins was told the rare neuroendocrine tumour on her thymus gland had spread to her lungs, liver, ovaries and bones, giving her just weeks to live.
Leila, her younger sister Tegan and best friend Anna Wainscott spoke to 7 News Online in her final weeks as they looked to urgently raise funds to cover the costs of alternative medical treatment, Keytruda, that was not covered by health insurance.
Unfortunately just after 5am on Friday morning, the adored 29 year old passed away with her two sisters by her side.
“Tegan was living at the hospital with Leila… I don’t think she has slept in about a week,” Anna said.
Anna paid tribute to her brave friend and former colleague, telling 7 News Online that Leila’s story had touched more than just friends and family.
“(She) was just so loved,” Anna added.
“The guy (Adam McGlone) that donated $1500 and then donated another $500, he didn’t even know Leila,” she said.
“He was totally not connected to her in any way apart from sharing stage four cancer.
“He sent me a big beautiful email sharing his experience saying he just wanted to help out…(Leila) was pretty taken aback by that.”
After Leila’s condition deteriorated in recent weeks, the remaining funds raised for her Keytruda treatment were forwarded on to Tegan, who intends to donate the money to someone in a similar position who needs the funding.
In total 385 people, many of whom were complete strangers, made donations in just two weeks to help Leila battle the illness that eventually claimed her life.
"We just donated $20, I know it's not much but best of luck to you," Chloe Maree wrote.