The Castlemaine community was devastated by the loss of young Newstead mum Lauren Bright to cancer on September 3.
Lauren leaves behind her devoted husband Jamie to raise their two young children Bailey, 7, and Jade, 2.
Many locals knew Lauren through her involvement with the Newstead Football Netball Club where she was a tireless worker on the club’s committee.
Family and friends of the 39-year-old have set up a Go Fund Me page to assist Jamie to focus on their kids following this devastating loss.
In honour of Lauren’s memory they are also determined to spread the message about the dangers of melanoma and the importance of having regular skin checks.
Lauren’s friend and Go Fund Me page team member, Ellissia Campbell, said Lauren had been bravely fighting an aggressive form of melanoma for two and a half years.
“She had to juggle oncology appointments in Melbourne, hospital visits, medical check-ups and work, while raising her two young children. She did it all with determination, grace, humour and a smile,” Ellissia said.
In June this year, while celebrating her 39th birthday, Lauren felt a sharp pain in her head followed by a loss of vision. She underwent an emergency MRI and was given the heartbreaking news that the melanoma had spread to her brain.
Despite several rounds of radiation, chemo and immunotherapy, the family was told that there were no more options.
“Lauren remained physically strong right to the end. She shocked us all by taking part in a boxing class about 10 days before she died. She was so strong she always struggled to get a boxing partner because nobody could match her physical strength,” Ellissia said.
Despite that fighting spirit, Lauren died on September 3 with husband Jamie by her side.
“Friends and family have been asking what they can do to help, and right now there is no easy answer,” Ellissia said.
“Jamie’s immediate focus is on taking care of their two children and trying to continue giving them the life that Lauren fought so hard to give them.
“With that in mind, when Jamie is ready we would love to send him and his children on a holiday. It would give them some space to breathe and to rest, and help them regain the strength to return to their life at home without Lauren. Travel was always a really important part of their lives, and we know Lauren would love for Jamie to continue this tradition,” she said.
Ellissia and fellow organisers have been blown away by the response to the Go Fund Me fundraiser to date with the figure at more than $67,000 at the time of going to press.
Jamie’s sister-in-law Shari Bright said the family had been overwhelmed by the love and support they had received and the response to the fundraiser.
“These additional funds will alleviate the day to day financial pressures as Jamie, Bailey and Jade navigate life without their loving wife and mother,” she said.
“The success of this campaign is a credit to Loz, her character and the impact she has left on this community,” Shari said.
If you would like to make a donation in honour of Lauren you can do so by visiting gofundme.com and searching ‘Love & Support for the Bright Family’.