After a life spent helping thousands of people with cancer, and leaving a legacy that will see many more get the help they need, Queanbeyan's Yvonne Cuschieri has died.
Mrs Cuschieri was the driving force behind the Rise Above cancer support group and a Queanbeyan respite care facility which is hoped to open next year.
Mrs Cuschieri lost a battle with lung cancer on Friday.
She has been remembered for her strength and generosity, and the "great legacy" she has left behind.
Her passion to help people with cancer began with a push to fundraise for 13 children to attend a CanTeen camp, in 1985.
"She always said to me, 'I just did it to help some kids go on a camp and it went from there," friend and colleague Paul Walshe said.
"That was her life, she put others in front of herself and she made a difference in the community."
Rise Above chief executive Melissa Gardiner said Mrs Cuschieri had created a unique charity which helped hundreds of people with the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis.
"We are so lucky that we had such an amazing lady that thought about other people and built up the cancer support group to what it was ... nowhere in Australia has one like us to financially support cancer patients," she said.
"[Yvonne] was really close with a lot of patients. It wasn't just the money for her, she was a friend while they were going through it."
Following the death of her son Steven in 2013, Mrs Cuschieri started a new battle.
When caring for Steven, who had a brain tumour, became difficult for Mrs Cuschieri and her husband, a nursing home was the only option for respite - which wasn't the appropriate care or environment.
Following Steven's death after his time at the aged care facility, a plan to create a respite centre for young people in Queanbeyan was born.
That dream is just months away from being realised.
Mr Walshe has helped push for the facility and secured federal and NSW government funding for the project.
A development application will be submitted soon for the six-bed centre to care for people aged 18 to 59 with a terminal illness.
While there are still questions over how to fund the centre long-term, Mr Walshe hoped it would open late 2022.
"I was always hoping she would still be alive, even [when] we put the shovel in the ground to start building," Mr Walshe said.
"We'll be certainly ensuring that her legacy is not forgotten."
Mrs Cuschieri was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia and nominated for Australian of the Year.
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