Litisha Cleave is busily buying each of her two young daughters birthday presents.

She's buying her girls, Lylah Boyle, 3, and Hazel Boyle, 4, presents for every year up until their 21st birthdays as they're birthdays she won't be able to spend with them.

In May this year, Cleave not only turned 30 but she was informed the breast cancer discovered a year earlier was now terminal.

Not only was it a shock to herself and her family, but also medical staff, who were surprised given her young age.


She has been given six months to live.

Faced with a limited future, Cleave said she's trying to keep positive and spend as much time with her daughters and fiance, Riki, as she can.

But one of her most important wishes before she dies is to marry her fiance who proposed to her on the tram in Christchurch in 2017.

Close family friend Lisa Attewell didn't muck about in getting it sorted. The creation of a givealittle last month has since led tyo a flood of donations from friends, businesses and others not only in Christchurch, but also in Nelson-Marlborough and around the country.

The response has floored Cleave who, not wanting to forget anyone or leave them out, wanted to thank those who had contributed.

"Everyone has made it possible and now I am able to get married [on July 27]. It's amazing. I don't even know how to thank everyone because it's just so big.

"I feel like I've won Lotto but yet I'm dying, its really mixed emotions. I actually feel lucky that i have this time to know that I'm dying and to prepare myself, my family and my kids.

"It's so unreal."


She is currently buying her children birthday presents; something special they could open for each year until they're 21.

"I feel lucky that I can do that and that it's not just a sudden death. I can leave things behind."

Litisha with fiance Riki and their two children, Lylah Boyle, 3, left, and Hazel Boyle, 4. Photo / Supplied
Litisha with fiance Riki and their two children, Lylah Boyle, 3, left, and Hazel Boyle, 4. Photo / Supplied

As for her diagnosis, Cleave said it was the last thing she'd expected.

She was an avid gymgoer, was into weights and boot camps, and when she first felt the lumps - one on each breast - she thought it was muscle from her workouts.

"I didn't expect it, I'd just turned 30 ... the kids were going to daycare, everything was good, I was doing some boot camps and weightlifting and I did feel these lumps come up.

"I would compare them in the shower, and they were always in the same place on each side."

The lump on her right side was slightly bigger but, being her dominant side, she figured it made sense given her gym work.

However, after a few months she started getting unusually tired and wasn't feeling herself.

The Plunket health worker went to her GP, who sent her off for an ultrasound just in case.

The first lump appeared fine but the second caused concern.

Twenty-four hours later she was told to come back in with a support person.

A year on, she was then told that the cancer had travelled to her lymph nodes.

She's since had them removed but opted not to have further chemotherapy as she wants to spend more quality time with her family, especially her two daughters.

"My cancer's come back and they're saying it's not curable so I'm just living life to the full.

"I have decided to get married so that my kids can be there and share that day with me, and have all my friends and family around me. So it's like a celebration, but a sad story at the same time."

She said she and Riki, a Taranaki man who moved to Christchurch after the earthquakes, met six years ago in the small South Canterbury town of Waimate.

The pair had been inseparable since.

Being able to marry him in front of their children was at the top of her bucket list.

"I was thinking about my bucket list and the biggest thing was just having the kids there and seeing me marry their Dad."

The couple will get married at Amberley House, with a guest list of 300, on July 27.