Bride’s ‘beautiful’ final farewell
Melanoma campaigner Ashleigh Simrajh has been laid to rest by her friends and family just two weeks after her wedding.
Dressed in "colourful and fun" clothes - at Ashleigh's request - her funeral took place on Saturday at Braeside in Merrimac on the Gold Coast.
The 23-year-old died on September 15 after being told she had just days to live in August. She married her fiance Jason Hale in an emotional ceremony at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast.
Speaking at the funeral, her father Tony Simrajh shared fond memories of his daughter.
"I know she's standing here beside me, I truly believe that, and I know when I'm talking about her she's going to roll her eyes, because that's what she does when dad talks about her," he said the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.
"Ash and I had a special bond, she became my best friend. Ash and I were best friends first, and father and daughter second," he said.
"Mum provided the emotional support, Trace has done an amazing job in providing emotional support for her, and I provide all the problem solving skills for her.
"And in that way together we were able to bring her up to be an amazing young lady who has been taken way too soon from us all."
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Her widow, Mr Hale described the ceremony as "a very emotional but beautiful day" and thanked her father.
"It was a very emotional but beautiful day to celebrate her life. I know for a fact she would've been so happy with it," he wrote in a Facebook post.
"However, the biggest thanks I can give to anyone right now is to Ashleigh's father, Tony.
"You're amazing in every single way I can think. I owe you big time with everything you've done for us.
"Ash would be so proud of you right now."
Paying tribute to Ashleigh after her death, Mr Hale said he always carried "so much hope" that she would get better again" and lamented that their plans to have children would go unfulfilled.
"Words cannot describe the pain I'm feeling right now, I'm absolutely devastated and my heart is completely shattered," he wrote on Facebook last Tuesday morning.
"You were so brave and strong and I know that you tried your absolute best fighting this battle, you couldn't have tried any harder than you did.
"I think growing old with you was something I wanted to do the most. Not much else mattered to me than to just be there with you for my whole life."
While she initially spotted a lump on her leg in 2017, her family claimed doctors dismissed it as a "wart" and failed to take a biopsy. A subsequent appointment revealed it was a melanoma, which eventually spread to her lungs, liver and chest.
They've also since launched a legal action against two practitioners.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia in the week before her death, Mr Simrajh said their legal case was about the doctors "owning up to their errors and taking responsibility". He said Ashleigh ultimately wanted her story to save lives by encouraging people to seek second opinions.
"She is on a mission to get her story out there for young people to get checked but also to get another doctor to have a look at it if you are still not sure," he wrote on her GoFundMe page.
"That would have saved her life if she did."
Originally published as Bride's 'beautiful' final farewell