Young Wānaka mum dies after short battle with cancer

Kate Callaghan- mother, wife and holistic nutritionist. Photo second: caption: Callaghan leaves behind her two children Olivia, 5, and Ed, 3. Credit: Supplied

Young mother of two small children Kate Callaghan has died of cancer at the age of 36 years.

The Wānaka holistic- nutritionist died on Thursday surrounded by loved ones, her friend Emma Simpson said on social media.

Callaghan first felt a lump in her breast last June but was told by doctors and a specialist she had a low chance of having breast cancer due to her healthy lifestyle. But in November scans showed she had stage four breast cancer and that it has spread to her liver and lymph nodes. That meant she was not eligible for surgery and could only get palliative chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

"This is not right," Callaghan said on Instagram at the time. "This is not how it's supposed to be. I'm a healthy, 35yr old mum of 2. I'm not done here yet."

Earlier this year, Callaghan travelled to Mexico for alternative cancer treatment at a centre called Hope4Cancer, after crowdfunding for the trip.

The treatments ran eight hours a day, six days a week, and some were very tough. 

"There were lots of infusions including Vitamin C, B17, curcumin, and resveratrol," said Callaghan at the time. There were also heat treatments where her body was placed in a dome with just her head sticking out then superheated to a fever level in an attempt to kill off the cancer cells

Callghan came back home before New Zealand went into Covid-19 lockdown. After getting radiation therapy and trying further medications, she told doctors she no longer wanted a prognosis

"I know this news is utterly devastating," Simpson wrote of Callaghan's death.

"I know how heart-wrenching it is that someone we all love, as well as a stunning mother of two that fought so bloody hard, could be taken so early. I also know there's a hell of a lot of cliches that could be said here.

"But that's not our Kate's style. She fought hard. Bloody hard. And her many, many victories, her impact on others and the legacy of knowledge and successes she has left behind are cause for celebration."

Simpson wrote that after getting her diagnosis, Callaghan "bought the biggest, heaviest, peer-reviewed book on treatment and ravaged through it".

She named her cancer "Sharyn" and would "verbally tirade against her".

"I feel good at the moment – I feel really good. I don't see myself dying anytime soon," she wrote several weeks ago.

Callaghan was described as a "ball of resilience, an absolute knowledge fiend, beyond empathetic, loving to the core and above all, a fighter" by Simpson.

Callaghan was an author and blogger with a large following online.

She leaves behind her husband, Aaron, and two children Olivia, 5, and Ed, 3.

Read edition 981 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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