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Young widow’s legacy for husband who died after gruelling cancer battle


Lauren Smith and her husband Jake met when they were just children going through primary school.

As they grew up, the pair, from Queensland, became closer, before eventually marrying when she was 20 and he was 21.


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“It was a really special day, it’s such a treasured memory to have everyone who’s important to you at the same place at the same time,” Lauren told 7NEWS.

“It was the happiest day to celebrate us.”

But their life together was cut tragically short soon after in October 2019 when, after a gruelling battle with stage 4 lymphoma, Jake passed away.

“He was so warm, he had the biggest heart for people,” Lauren said.

Lauren and Jake met as children at school.
Lauren and Jake met as children at school. Credit: 7NEWS
Lauren and Jake got married after years of dating.
Lauren and Jake got married after years of dating. Credit: 7NEWS

“He always wanted to see people be the best version of themselves and he was passionate about that even when he was in such a hard place himself.”

During his cancer battle, Lauren quit her job to become Jake’s full-time carer.

“It was an absolute honour but it meant though that there were times where I couldn’t just pop to the shops,” she said.

“There was one particular day that I really needed washing powder – which sounds really basic but it was a weekday, it was sometime in the morning.

The couple’s life together was cut tragically short.
The couple’s life together was cut tragically short. Credit: 7NEWS

“In that moment I thought about all the people who had offered help but I didn’t know who would be willing to go get the washing powder and drive it out to me.

“Me, being terrible at asking for things, I ended up thinking it was all too hard and I didn’t ask anyone.

“But I really would’ve loved to have been able to ask indirectly somehow and whoever was available could’ve done that.”

That’s where Jake and Lauren came up with an idea for an app.

And so, Heartfull – an app that helps others support loved ones through a tough time and provide health updates to friends and family – was born.

Jake in hospital.
Jake in hospital. Credit: 7NEWS
Lauren is now hoping to bring the app to life.
Lauren is now hoping to bring the app to life. Credit: 7NEWS

“It is the idea of bridging the gap between people who need help and people who would like to give that help,” Lauren said.

“We always said that we didn’t want our hardest days to be wasted so it’s really special to think that this can come from such a hard time.”

One of Jake’s parting wishes was for Lauren to bring the app to life.

And she’s done just that.

The only thing holding her back now is funding for the app’s development.

“I’m calling on the community right across Queensland to get behind Lauren and this app that can bring together so many people,” MP David Janetzki said.

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