This is just breathtakingly sad news.
The brave and beautiful 36-year-old mother is dead, and her family left broken by the knowledge that she might still be alive if she’d elected to have preventative surgery years ago.
Elisha Neave has tragically passed away today, the victim of aggressive ovarian cancer. We first introduced you to Elisha and her family last year. Many readers will remember that Elisha was one of three sisters who courageously spoke publicly about their family’s long, devastating history of cancer in the hope that they might save others from the same fate.
The sisters have lost their father to pancreatic cancer, and their grandmother, great grandmother and aunt to breast cancer. And now they have lost Elisha.
In 2007, Elisha and her two older sisters, Chrissy and Veronica, all tested positive for a gene called BRCA2. That’s the gene Angelina Jolie has too, which prompted her to get a mastectomy and very publicly urge other women to do the same. Having the BRCA2 gene indicates a high probability of being diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer in the future. It’s one of the few warnings we have to work with, when it comes to protecting people from cancer.
Having watched their mother survive breast cancer twice before getting terminal bone cancer, Chrissy and Veronica chose to have preventative mastectomies and hysterectomies.
Being the youngest sister, Elisha thought she had more time to make a decision. She wanted more children, so she chose to delay her surgeries.
But cancer found Elisha too soon, and now she’s gone.
Elisha was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in early 2013, when her son Jack was just 10-years-old. She spoke to Channel 9 journalist Tara Brown at the time, in a powerful 60 Minutes segment, and we hope what she said might move anyone else with the BRCA2 gene to consider preventative surgery urgently.
When we say it’s what Elisha would have wanted, we mean it. This was an extraordinarily generous woman who wanted her suffering to help other people, even when she knew that her fate would be a terrible one.
Here’s a particularly important part of that interview, from Channel 9: