An Auckland woman who was let down by the health system more than seven times has died at age 42, after a courageous battle with bowel cancer.

Kim Girbin - dubbed by many as brave, resilient, caring and a beautiful soul- said her final goodbyes to family and close friends early on Saturday morning.

"Today the world lost one of its brightest sparks," one friend wrote on Facebook.

She leaves behind her daughter and three grandchildren.

Kim with her daughter and two of her grandchildren. Photo / Supplied
Kim with her daughter and two of her grandchildren. Photo / Supplied

In November last year, the Herald told Girbin's heartbreaking story of being repeatedly let down by the health system, including her symptoms being dismissed as "girl problems", before being told she was dying.

For three years the young solo mum of one and grandma was visiting her GP at least once every month complaining of stabbing pain. She was desperate for answers.

Instead, she was given painkillers and was told by her GP it's "just girl issues".

As the pain began to get worse, to the point where no drug made the slightest difference, she asked her GP for an ultrasound.

She was then told the wait would be 10 months as there wasn't anything else wrong with her.

"From the outside, I looked like a fit and healthy person but on the inside, I was in a world of pain," Girbin told the Herald last year.

She ended up using her mortgage money to pay for a $3500 colonoscopy. By the, June 2016, it was too late - she was dying.

Back in November, Diana Sarfati - who was chosen as the head of the new cancer agency because of her international experience in improving cancer care - responded to Girbin's experience.


Sarfati said it was horrendous and "absolutely tragic", and showed some of the systematic weaknesses that must be overcome.

"I am personally absolutely committed to improving the way that New Zealand manages cancer."

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Since Girbin's tragic death, dozens of friends have been commemorating their lost loved one on Facebook.

Kim Girbin in Bali trying to cleanse her cancer from her body. Photo / Supplied
Kim Girbin in Bali trying to cleanse her cancer from her body. Photo / Supplied

One person said: "I am devastated you had to endure this battle and its associated pain. You were one hell of a fighter and one of the most courageous people I have met. I was privileged to be your friend. May you finally have the peace you deserve and rest in the knowledge you are loved and will be sorely missed."

Another said: "Thank you for being you and having us on your journey with you. The laughter, the good times, the moments we all shared with you. You are an incredible person whom we all love dearly."

"Farewell Kim Girbin. Taken from us way too soon. You were an inspiration in the way you fought your battle and how positive you were," said another friend.