As part of my work with Bowel Cancer UK and being a member of the large online cancer community, I have gone from knowing no one with cancer to now having a large group of friends with various forms of the disease.

This is a major source of support for me, but in knowing so many people with cancer, it was inevitable that I would know someone who would die.

However, when it happened, I was not prepared; last week, my friend Amy and fellow spokesperson at Bowel Cancer UK passed away.

She was young, vibrant, beautiful, funny and engaged so fully with bringing awareness of bowel cancer to a wider audience.

The similarities between Amy and Greg are difficult to acknowledge – she had been to the doctors with symptoms and was dismissed as being too young to have cancer.

When she was finally diagnosed, her cancer was advanced and had spread to major organs.

She also crowdfunded for treatment not available on the NHS – she raised £20,000 in two days through an outpouring of love for her on social media.

Heartbreakingly, she was unable to use this money for a critical operation as she was already too ill.

When the news of Amy’s death broke, those in the online cancer community rallied together – we sent messages of support to each other, telling stories of her inspirational way of dealing with life.

Her death is a very difficult thing to come to terms with but it’s something that I refuse to look away from.

It might be easier to not be involved in the cancer community because of the high potential to lose friends but in Amy alone, I found someone who inspired me every day to live the best life possible.

She had been dealt the worst hand yet she spent her time raising money for charity, doing make up tutorials on Instagram of her trademark rainbow eyes, renovating her house when she knew that she wouldn’t be there long enough to enjoy it fully.

I am devastated but I also feel something else; a tangible energy to live, REALLY live.

To not put off what I want to do, to not stay silent about what I want to say.

We have no idea what will happen to us today or tomorrow.

Thank you Amy for showing me how to live and love ferociously.

* Stacey Heale has put her career as a fashion lecturer on hold to focus on her two lively little girls and fiancé, Delays frontman Greg Gilbert, who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in November 2016. She launched the viral campaign Give4Greg to raise funds for lifesaving treatment: You can read more at her blog