Respected Cairns lawyer Melissa Nielsen is being remembered as a comforter, friend and community advocate after losing her battle with cancer yesterday.
Melissa, aged just 39 and mum to three young kids, was a partner at Miller Harris Lawyer and was instrumental in raising funds for the Send Hope Not Flowers charity aimed at improving maternal health in Papua New Guinea.
She also served on the board of Advance Cairns and the Cairns Women's Legal Services and regularly donated her time for pro bono legal cases.
In a statement, Miller Harris Lawyers described Melissa as their "confidant, comforter and friend".
"Melissa will be remembered by her clients for her dedication, commitment and enthusiasm to their cause and to her home region.
"She will be remembered by many more as a maternal health champion – saving lives of mothers in childbirth through her fundraising for Send Hope Not Flowers.
"This says nothing of her willing focus as a pro bono worker for numerous causes and boards, including Advance Cairns Ltd and the Cairns Womens Legal Service.
"She will be remembered by Miller Harris Lawyers’ staff and partners past and present as the life of our firm – baking, bright dresses, and celebration.
"Melissa’s spirit, drive, and empathy for all will not be forgotten. She has lived her short life fully and deeply, and is an inspiration to us all. We will miss her terribly.
"We extend our deepest sympathy to Rudy and their three children, and also to Melissa’s parents Robyn and Ken, Melissa’s sisters, and her extended family."