Woman in S’pore holds living funeral 1 week before dying from cancer, more than 30 people attend

29-year-old cancer patient held living funeral as she didn’t want death to be feared

Faced with a poor prognosis, a cancer patient in Singapore decided to hold her funeral while she was still alive.

Called a “living funeral”, the 29-year-old woman decided to host and invite her loved ones to the intimate gathering.

Source: HCA Hospice on Facebook

She died about one week after the event.

29-year-old woman diagnosed with cancer in 2021

The story of Michelle Ng or Mike’s living funeral was related in an article published by HCA Hospice on 24 Jan and shared by the charity over Facebook on 14 Feb.

Source: HCA Hospice

Mike was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2021 at the age of 27.

It had spread to other parts of her body by the end of 2022, and treatment that started in 2023 didn’t improve her condition.

Before being stricken with the disease, Mike led an active lifestyle and was an avid cyclist and runner.

She also ran a wearables business, opening a second store while in pain from the cancer.

Woman decides to hold living funeral

But with death near, Mike decided that she wanted to spend her final days at home, surrounded by loved ones.

When HCA medical social worker Jayne Leong brought up a living funeral, she eagerly took up the suggestion.

Mike and Jayne. Source: HCA Hospice

Though Ms Leong described a living funeral as “a celebration of a person’s life while they are still around”, Mike wanted to call the event a “living funeral” because, as she said:

I wanted death to be close to our hearts, and not something to be feared.

Besides connecting with her loved ones, she also wanted to raise awareness of HCA and palliative care as they had helped her “in seeing the light in the tunnel”.

Living funeral had intimate atmosphere & ‘live’ performance

While regular funerals can be organised within hours of someone’s passing, Mike’s living funeral took weeks of preparation.

She even prepared the food herself as part of her final act of love for her guests, who included HCA caregivers.

Source: HCA Hospice

The host wanted it to be more like a birthday party, with an intimate atmosphere where she could share her love, food, music and books with friends.

On 23 Dec 2023, the day of the living funeral, guests were encouraged to write her a final letter and bring a book to exchange with other guests.

Source: HCA Hospice on Facebook

Adding to the upbeat mood was a performance by local musician Rai, who is part of Mike’s favourite local band Jack & Rai.

Source: HCA Hospice

In total, more than 30 people attended the living funeral, and Mike said she was grateful to see and hear every single one of them.

Source: HCA Hospice on Facebook

As the gathering was held while she was still alive, the joyful and meaningful affair suited her personality more than a regular funeral.

Woman died a week after funeral

Sadly, Mike died on 2 Jan, slightly more than a week after her living funeral.

However, she departed having laughed and sang together with her nearest and dearest as her final act of love.

MS News has reached out to HCA for more information about the event.

Also read: S’pore Cancer Patient Wants Tailored Dress & Good Funeral Photo, Volunteers Fulfil Her Final Wishes

S’pore Cancer Patient Wants Tailored Dress & Good Funeral Photo, Volunteers Fulfil Her Final Wishes

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Featured image adapted from HCA Hospice.

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