Garry and Mari Ensbey with with some of the many floral tributes sent by the community after the death of their daughter Mel.
Garry and Mari Ensbey with with some of the many floral tributes sent by the community after the death of their daughter Mel. Jacklyn Wagner

Cancer victim's fighting spirit

SHROUDED in grief after the loss of their daughter, Alstonville couple Garry and Mari Ensbey smile proudly when remembering Mel and her fighting spirit.

As the couple deal with the loss of the 28-year-old, they take heart in some of the many lessons she left them with – stay positive, hopeful and live life to the full.

Mel lost her five-year battle with ovarian cancer at St Vincent's Hospital, Lismore, just on dawn on Wednesday, with her mum and dad by her side.

But Mrs Ensbey said Mel insisted all the way through her struggle that “we weren't allowed to be negative around her”.

Mel Ensbey maintained her hope as the disease took hold of her body, and the “party girl” who loved bright colours enjoyed a three-day celebration for her last birthday in June.

“Even before the end – the day before she died – she told Garry ‘I'm not going anywhere',” Mrs Ensbey said.

“This year, she has been so sick.

“But she was determined to have her birthday.”

Mr Ensbey said he would remember Mel's sense of humour and her honesty along with her tenacity.

Mel was first diagnosed in 2006. By late 2008, the cancer had become invasive.

While sick, she was able to complete her Bachelor of Education from Southern Cross University and take the first steps in her career.

As she exhausted treatment options available locally, the Plateau community got behind the family and raised $30,000 for Mel to go to Mexico to try natural therapies not available in Australia.

She spent three weeks in the Central American country late last year.

But her illness forced her back to Australia, and she has been in and out of St Vincent's Hospital since, with her mum by her side day and night for all but four nights.

Mr and Mrs Ensbey said they were very grateful to the Plateau community for the support they received during Mel's illness.

Mel will be farewelled at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church at Alstonville on Monday at 1pm. Butterflies will be released as Mel is laid to rest at the Alstonville Lawn Cem- etery following the service.

The family asks that donations to St Vincent's Hospital Palliative Care Unit be given in lieu of flowers.



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