Fri, 25 May, 2018Fiona Tomarchio

Woman’s heartbreaking letter to family before dying of cancer

Woman’s heartbreaking letter to family before dying of cancer

A woman from Sydney in Australia wrote a heartbreaking final letter to her family and friends to be read out at her funeral.

Vanessa Juresic was diagnosed with Stage Four triple negative breast cancer in 2017 before tragically losing her battle just 15 months later at the young age of 36.

The heartbreaking letter, which has been shared online, urges others not to “take advantage of the amazing life you’ve been handed”.

The moving letter, which includes life lessons and advice, was read out to her grieving family and friends at her funeral.

“If you knew me, you know I always wanted to have the last word,” Vanessa began in her letter. “I’m sure in most circumstances this was an exceptionally annoying trait but I’m hoping at times endearing? Today is no different.”

Read out loud by her friend Lisa Mayoh, the letter continues, “Life is so fragile and so beautiful. Never in my worst nightmares would I have ever imagined I would be taken so soon – ripped away from every single beautiful person here.

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“I wanted to be the miracle kid on the front cover of National Geographic but that wasn’t meant to be. Someone up there must need me more for some reason. To look over you all.

“I had so much more to do. I wanted to join boards, write more policy and change the world for the better, fundraise more, mentor and ‘make a difference’ as they say.

“So, I’m going to give it a go here instead and give you my learnings from my short life.

“What would I have told my pre-cancer self if I knew my end was so near? What would I have appreciated more? What advice would I give to my loved ones?

“If you want something, go get it, now, trust me, you don’t want to be writing this speech. Stop procrastinating…

“Yes, I wanted a family of my own, a long healthy life with Pat, more travel, more time to appreciate every Christmas, birthday, Olympics, election, glass of fine wine, bowl of pasta and serve of apple crumble.

“But I’m not going to say to you to appreciate all these things in case you die. That’s too predictable. Instead I say don’t over analyse life and fear a horrible fate. Just live your full wonderful lives and don’t give mortality a second thought. I was unlucky but you’re not.

“Terminal or not you should be reaching for the stars, taking advantage of the amazing life you’ve been handed. Not because you might die! Dying is easy. Life is hard… but ridiculously rewarding. Challenge yourself.”

The money raised on the GoFundMe page for Vanessa will now be donated to the Garvan Institute for research.