Cancer battler and Jodie's Inspiration founder Jodie McRae at home yesterday.
Cancer battler and Jodie's Inspiration founder Jodie McRae at home yesterday. Marc Stapelberg

'Live life large': Jodie's heartbreaking final farewell

THE Lismore woman who became an inspiration is saying her final goodbyes this week, as her battle with cancer comes to an end.

Jodie McRae sat down in an interview with The Northern Star late yesterday, to announce she had two days to live.

Her latest scans on Monday showed the tumours, which had spread to her brain and spine, were continuing to grow.

She talked about her family and legacy, with the smile and positive outlook many people have come to know so well.

"We're very lucky around here ... we've got such great support," she said.

"The medical team, our supporters, our local community putting in the funds, thank you."

Asked if she was afraid of dying, Ms McRae said: "No, not at all - and that's the thing I don't understand. Since the start, I haven't been scared."

Cancer journey

In early 2013 Ms McRae discovered she had an extremely rare form of breast cancer.

It was incurable.

She had talked to her daughter, who was 16 years old at the time, about the importance of checking for lumps, but felt like a hypocrite for not checking herself.

The day she checked, she found a lump straight away.

Big year, lots of achievements

Ms McRae has accomplished a lot in the past year - she founded her charity Jodie's Inspiration, raised more than $100,000 for cancer wards and became Regional Woman of the Year.

But the modest Ms McRae said what she was most proud of was her children.

"The kids - their care for other people is something that's really important to me," she said.

"I suppose you can only imagine what it's like for me as a mother to know you're not going to get to see your kids reach 21 ... and have children of their own ... but we have such a good relationship and we're very lucky.

"I'm extremely proud of them."

Her son, 16-year-old Jake, added "especially Jake", much to the amusement of the whole family.

Daughter Kaela, who is now 20 years old, sat by her side during the interview and appeared as courageous and positive as her mother.

She said that, in an odd way, she felt thankful she was granted three years to prepare for her mother's death and to say "goodbye".

"You don't wish this on anyone but people die in car accidents every day ... (and) think about the terrorist attacks happening around the world - those people don't get warned," she said.

"We've had three-and-a-half years to get used to the idea that one day mum won't be here.

"I suppose to find out last night there might be a couple of days left, yes, you're shocked, but in saying that we get to talk about it, we get to say those things we've always wanted to say."

Legacy will continue

Kaela said the Jodie's Inspiration committee would continue to run the charity in the same way.

"I want to make sure the legacy continues and it's running in a way she would run it herself, whether she's here or not," she said.

October's Pink Halloween will go ahead, "bigger and better than ever", with the aim of raising money for more oncology equipment in local hospitals.

Tickets, priced $70, can be bought at North Coast Hair and Beauty on Dawson St in Lismore. For more information visit the Jodie's Inspiration Facebook page.

The committee will also continue working towards Ms McRae's biggest goal - The Jodie's Inspiration House for palliative care patients.

"That's our ultimate goal," Ms McRae said.

"Somewhere that people can go to die comfortably ... they have a facility that's more homely, where the kids won't be so traumatised."

Her final message to her supporters is to "Live Life Large. I look forward to looking down on everyone and enjoying that whole experience".

Ms McRae will spend her final hours with those closest to her, including her partner Reece, parents and children.

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