United Kingdom

Queensland mother-of-two throws herself 'living funeral' after receiving terminal cancer diagnosis

A Queensland mother-of-two decided to attend her own funeral after being diagnosed with terminal stage-four bowel cancer. 

Kelly Hardy, 44, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer in August 2019, when a scan revealed inoperable tumours were growing in her liver and lungs. 

The Gold Coast mother had experienced no symptoms, apart from some mild stomach discomfort while working for her family's fencing business.

After being told she had 12 months to live, Ms Hardy decided to throw herself a 'living funeral' to celebrate her life alongside her closest family and friends.  

Kelly Hardy, 44, decided to throw herself a 'living funeral' after being told she had 12 months to live after she was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer in August, 2019

Over 180 people attended the 'funeral' at the Broadbeach Cats Football Club on Saturday April 24. 

'Most of you will be aware that I have been fighting bowel cancer for over 18 months and can't continue to fight it for ever,' Ms Hardy wrote in a Facebook page for the event. 

'In true Kelly style I am having a LIVING Funeral. If my friends and family are going to turn up to celebrate my life I am sure as hell going to be there.'

Prior to her diagnosis, the 44-year-old was performing 'hard core' physical labour, digging holes for her family's fencing business.  

Ms Hardy was also an active volunteer for the Broadbeach Cats Australian rules club, even planning her cancer treatments around home games. 

Ms Hardy (pictured, middle) at her 'life reunion' which was held at the Broadbeach Cats Football Club last month

Ms Hardy said the first warning sign of her bowel cancer came from an injury she sustained on the field. 

'I had copped a football to the stomach at training a week or so prior, which really floored me', she told 7 News. 

When the results came back from a routine scan, the mother-of-two was shocked. 

'I can't even look back and go, 'ah yes, that makes sense. I wish I'd picked up on that. There was nothing,' she said. 

Since then, Ms Hardy has been forced to hang up the tools and focus on her recovery, with her husband Ron becoming the families' sole provider. 

The 44-year-old has developed new bone tumours in her humerus and sternum, and has experienced partial hair loss, weight gain and reduced brain function.  

Prior to her diagnosis Ms Hardy (right) was an active volunteer for the Broadbeach Cats Australian rules club and worked at her families fencing business

It was after an oncologist estimated she had 12 months of liver function left, that Ms Hardy decided to throw her 'living funeral'. 

'If they're going to take the trouble to turn up, I want to be there to see them', she said, describing the event as a 'life reunion'.

'There were tables of people from different aspects of my life, all doing their own little catch-ups.'

A GoFundMe page has been created in Kelly's honour to raise money for urgent home repairs and a family holiday, with a goal of reaching $10,000.  

'When I have asked Kelly what she would like to achieve she stated that her youngest daughter Jordi has never been on a plane in her 11 years of life', the organiser wrote. 

'Kelly is set on providing this experience for her while she still can.' 

The mother-of-two said her focus for the next 12 months was to create memories with her husband and two daughters. 

'That extra money means we can do things without having to freak out about the cost,' Ms Hardy said.

'Other than that it's life as best we can around here.'

Ms Hardy has said her focus for the next 12 months is to create memories with her family, and set them up as best as possible for 'life after the fact'

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