Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Death robs Briar of her final dream

Briar Lobb.
Briar Lobb.

When 27-year-old Briar Lobb was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she set out to live.

She knew she had only months left but, determined to enjoy them, she created a bucket list and started fundraising to make her dreams happen.

Tragically, she died last week before she could even start her list.

In 2011 Ms Lobb was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She had a radical hysterectomy and lymph node removal, then seven gruelling weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.

She was given the all clear and carried on with her life, returning to her dream job as an event designer, holidaying and planning her future with boyfriend Thiem Nguyen.

Then last year, Ms Lobb's normal life was shattered. After feeling unwell for a while she was admitted to hospital, where she spent six weeks trying to recover from a bowel obstruction - resulting from the side effects of the radiation treatment.

When it did not come right, doctors decided to operate and discovered an aggressive recurrence of Ms Lobb's cervical cancer. It had spread to her bowel and she had three tumours below her stomach. The cancer was inoperable and further treatment would not help. She was told she had just months to live.

She described the news as "my worst nightmare", but didn't dwell on that for long. Ms Lobb drew up a bucket list, and started a Facebook page to tell her story and fundraise.

She wanted to travel the South Island in campervans with her family, go parasailing, stay in Queenstown at a five-star hotel and "enjoy life and try new things".

She had organised the campervan trip for early next month.

Her mother, Bev Craig, was at her side when she died at home in Dannevirke. "She died gracefully, she died beautifully," Mrs Craig told the Herald.

"It was a horrific disease, but she was just my beautiful queen. She was my best friend and I was absolutely honoured to have known her."

Mrs Craig said her daughter spent Christmas with family and friends before being admitted to a hospice on Boxing Day evening.

She did not eat for five weeks, as her body began to shut down.

"It was horrible. But she was a beautiful girl," her mother said. "She was loved by so many and she was so generous - a giver not a taker."

Mrs Craig cancelled the trip last month when she knew Briar was unlikely to live long enough to go.

Her daughter made a will before she died, and all the money she raised for her bucket list will be donated to Hospice New Zealand.

A funeral service was held in Dannevirke on Saturday. A memorial service will be held in Auckland at St Matthew-in-the-City on Wednesday at 2pm.

- NZ Herald

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