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Cancer patient Rowena Kincaid’s farewell letter will leave you in bits

The funeral of terminal cancer patient Rowena Kincaid, who died on Sept. 2, three years after being given six months to live, took place in her home city of Cardiff this week.

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BBC picture editor Kincaid, 40, wrote and presented two Before I Kick the Bucket documentaries about living with cancer, raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities and campaigned to spread the message of the importance of early diagnosis. She defied doctors who told her she wouldn’t live to see her 40th birthday and celebrated that milestone with a costumed ball at Cardiff Castle.

In February, Kincaid wrote an emotional, powerful open letter to her cancer, declaring that she would never give up fighting it. “If you’re waiting for me to give up, give up the life you’ve taken chunks out of, give up after fighting you so hard and so long, you are sorely mistaken! Thanks to you, I now have an even bigger fire in my belly, a huge lust for life, and have the mental strength of an Amazonian,” she wrote in the letter that quickly went viral.

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At the funeral on Tuesday, her sister read aloud another letter from Kincaid — this time a farewell letter.

First up, you’ll need a tissue. Secondly, it’s a letter everyone should read, whether they’ve had cancer, are fighting cancer, are trying to help a loved one fight cancer or have lost someone to cancer. (Which, after all, is pretty much all of us, as 1 in 2 people born after 1960 in the U.K. will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. Yup, scary.)

Part of Kincaid’s letter is a set of “rules” that she has lived by. If there’s anything every one of us can take from her legacy, it’s these:

  • Be forever kind to yourself. Know your body and listen to your gut instincts at all times. Follow what it tells you and have faith in what you feel from it, it’s there to protect you. I listened well and it looked after me for as much as it could.
  • Acknowledge your weaknesses, as to do so is also a strength. To fight them or focus on them is a waste of time. So concentrate on the positives, then more positivity and strength will come your way.
  • Remember a problem is only as big as you make it, no matter how bad it seems there are always solutions, and can always be overcome. It will only last as long as you allow it to.
  • You can do what ever you dream. Don’t stop yourself from living it, as it will only be you that does — you are the boss of your life, you have more control than you realise.
  • Slow down sometimes and look around. Life does move fast and time is not your friend.
  • Make time for the small things, the things we take for granted, as you will be surprised how good that feels. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, why wait?
  • Love, but don’t fall in love with the idea of love.
  • Everyone you meet in your life will teach you something, whether they are in it for a short time, or forever. What they teach you, in time, you will see is a gift.
  • Always and never forget; to believe in yourself.

Read Kincaid’s incredible farewell letter in full here. Then visit Cancer Research UK to find out why early diagnosis in breast cancer is so important.

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