Home And Away Cathy Godbolds brain cancer battle that mirrored soap character
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Home And Away star Cathy Godbold is fondly remembered for playing Meg Bowman in the popular Australian soap.
Her character's brief appearance in 1992 has remained one of the soap's most memorable storylines in its history – with her character's exit remembered by many viewers.
She later went on to appear in programmes including Neighbours and The Saddle Club.
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However in a sad twist of fate, Cathy was diagnosed with cancer – in a life-changing moment that mirrored the life of her on-screen character.
Prior to her death, the star would also suffer a heartbreaking loss of her own, as one of her family members died from the disease.
Character's heartbreaking death
Cathy rose to fame as Meg Bowman on beloved Australian soap Home and Away in 1992.
During her time on the soap, she formed a beautiful romance with Blake Dean – but heartbreak was to follow.
Her character was diagnosed with leukemia in the same year, and in heartbreaking scenes, Meg died in boyfriend Blake's arms as they watched the sunrise.
Meg's exit from the soap is reported to be one of Home And Away's most emotional, but memorable scenes in the show's history.
She later went on to appear as Sondra Pike in Neighbours in 1997, who was involved in story lines such as her famous love triangle with Darren Starke and Libby Kennedy.
However, in a sad twist of fate, actress Cathy was diagnosed with cancer more than a decade later – in a moment that seemed to mirror her Home And Away character's life.
Brain cancer diagnosis
In 2007, Cathy was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 32 years old.
The star was appearing as journalist Deborah Hale in The Saddle Club at the time, but announced her departure from the show following her diagnosis.
Speaking at the time, the actress said in a statement: "It was a terrible shock to find out I was ill."
She added: "Because I am young and healthy I have a much better chance of beating it.
"I am fighting this… I want to get healthy and get back to work as soon as possible."
Cathy subsequently underwent treatment, including surgery to remove the brain tumour, as well as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, at a hospital in Melbourne.
It is reported that the star was also unable to work for several years due to the illness.
Following the treatment, she was later diagnosed as being in remission and cancer-free.
"Robbed of memories"
More than 10 years later in 2017, Cathy sadly discovered that her cancer had returned.
The star was hospitalised with a broken foot and during her stay, doctors informed Cathy that she had terminal brain cancer.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, her stepfather Ross Mitchell revealed that doctors were unable to treat the cancer, saying: "The cancer reappeared in the same place and it was impossible to treat it and certainly impossible to operate.
"It progressed at a very, very quick rate, much quicker than anybody expected."
Following her second cancer diagnosis, the actress also took to Facebook to inform fans that the disease had affected her memory.
In a heartbreaking post, Cathy explained that she could not remember the roles that had made her famous, including as Home and Away star Meg.
Sharing a clip of her character's exit from the soap in 1992, she commented: "I have no memory of those days due to the real (not TV) cancer!"
Her close friend Sally Browne revealed that Cathy remained upbeat in the final weeks of her life, and would often sit and dance in her hospital bed whenever Coldplay CDs were played.
She told 9News: "Cathy was a wonderful, young woman and a very talented young actress.
"But like all brain tumours, it eventually took over and it was just a tragic, tragic end."
Sally continued: "We also had her scrapbooks there and were reading to her – so there were some beautiful, poignant moments as well."
Mother's health battle
In the years before Cathy was diagnosed with cancer, her mother – the Australian TV and radio presenter Rosemary Margan – also began her own battle with the disease.
More than 17 years after her diagnosis, Rosemary died in December 2017 at the age of 80 years old – 10 years after her daughter's own cancer diagnosis.
Speaking to 9News Australia following Cathy's death, her close friend Sally Browne said: "When she [Cathy] was told (the second tumour) was terminal, it was a really tragic situation.
"She was missing her mum and she was in hospital.
"It's always sad when someone that young loses a battle. If there's any god, she'll be back in the arms of her mother – that would be a happy ending."
Only six months after the death of her mother, Cathy died on May 4, 2018 at the age of 43 years old.
Following Cathy's death, fans and friends paid tribute to the beloved star, with many remembering her role in Home And Away.
One fan said: "I still remember Meg's final scene on the beach in Home And Away. RIP Cathy Godbold."
"RIP beautiful talented Cathy Godbold. Thoughts with her family and friends," added a second.
A third fan paid tribute, saying: "So very sad to hear this. Former Home and Away star Cathy Godbold has died aged 43 She played Meg. I’ve never forgotten her love story with Blake, it was iconic."
"Oh this is sad news. I was so fond of Cathy Godbold as Meg on Home And Away back in the day," said a fourth.
The star was later laid to rest at Springvale Cemetery in Melbourne, Australia.
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