Young cancer battler Hope Collings dies, aged 23

Former Timaru woman Hope Collings, 23, of Christchurch died on Tuesday, after a long battle with acute lymphoblastic ...

Former Timaru woman Hope Collings, 23, of Christchurch died on Tuesday, after a long battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. This photo, supplied by her family, was taken earlier this year in Hawaii.

The family of former Timaru woman Hope Collings want her to be remembered as the "special person" she was.

Hope, 23, died at Nurse Maude Hospice, in Christchurch, on Tuesday, after battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia for the third time since the age of 14.

She began alternative treatment in Auckland in August after declining to receive intense chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant. 

Hope Collings, right, her best friend Taylor Lee.

Hope Collings, right, her best friend Taylor Lee.

Her mother Julie Collings set up a Givealittle page which raised $21,675 for Hope to have the treatment.

READ MORE: Hope battling leukemia for the third time

A statement from the family released on Friday says they felt lucky to have had Hope in their lives.

"Many may say that my beautiful girl Hope has been taken way too soon and see unfairness in all of this.

"Hope's life was never about her illness and she never made it, or wanted it to be."

The family said Hope had been "truly something special from the start".

Collings said her daughter had no regrets about her decision to receive alternative treatment.

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"She went downhill rapidly in a day and died the next with little suffering," Collings said.

In August Hope said she had accepted her fate was unknown, but she still held out hope of survival.

"I have accepted that there are both sides to it," she said.

"I'm not holding on to the thought of dying so I can instead focus on any other alternatives."

When Hope was first diagnosed with cancer she lived with her family in Timaru and often travelled to Christchurch for treatment. She went into remission but the cancer came back about three years later.

At 18 she and her mother and twin sister Alice moved to Christchurch. 

She fought off the disease again but when she was 22, after almost three years in remission, Hope was told by doctors the cancer had returned.

Hope had also said how hard it had been to watch her health struggles impacting on her family.

"It's so heart-wrenching seeing them being affected by all of this," she said.

A graveside service to celebrate Hope's life will be held in Christchurch on Monday.


 - The Timaru Herald

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