Writer who recounted her experience of cancer with engaging candour and published a book based on her popular blog
The writer Lisa Lynch, who has died aged 33 of cancer, did a great deal to transform the way younger women think about the disease, both in the blogosphere and in print. She launched her blog Alright Tit shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008: it was a witty and inspiring personal diary about “the extraordinary life of an ordinary girl woman” – not, she insisted, “Just Another Moany Health Blog”.
Dubbing cancer The Bullshit™, she displayed a no-nonsense, witty, candid style that was perfect for blogging. Her book was the first of its kind: a mash-up of Sex and the City, her passion for Louboutin shoes (a reward for surviving chemotherapy) and her determination to remain herself throughout her illness. Another blogger noted how she “helped so many younger women through their own experiences and has raised awareness that younger women do get breast cancer – more than any awareness campaign ever could”.
Her readers loved her because she made them laugh, and because cancer was just a part of her life – but never the main part. The subtitle of her book summed up her priorities: “Just your average 28-year-old. Friends, family, Facebook, cancer.” There is due to be an adaptation for BBC1.
Lynch voiced the highs in an inspiring way, giving herself treats to look forward to such as her brother’s wedding and time with friends at Glastonbury, calling the festival “Middle-Class-Tonbury” because she was booked to stay in a camper van: “It was time to take my finger off the pause button and press play on my lovely life once more.”
Born and brought up in Derby, Lisa McFarlane, known to her friends as “Mac”, studied English at Loughborough University, where she reported on music for the student newspaper. She then took an MA in journalism at Goldsmiths in London, paying for her course by freelancing for the Daily Telegraph and working night shifts at the Guardian. In December 2006, she married Peter Lynch and they set up home in south-west London.
After starting out in interiors magazines as a subeditor, she beat her goal of becoming an editor before the age of 30: at 25, she was editor of Real Homes and, later, Inspired Living. After she received the cancer diagnosis, she began the blog and went freelance. She was working on two new books until shortly before her death.
A huge sports fan, she supported Derby County football club. She loved music and, after cancer treatment, had a lyric from the Beatles’ Blackbird tattooed on her arm: “Take these broken wings and learn to fly.” Though she survived breast cancer, a secondary cancer was diagnosed in 2011.
As a writer she had an ambiguous relationship with her illness. “I don’t like to give cancer credit for anything – but I’m proud of my book and it’s good that something positive can come out of my experience. I always intended, one day, to write a book. The way I look at it, cancer is like the Heathrow Express – it did get me there faster, but it cost a lot more.” Fry summed up her wit and strength: “I don’t think she’d mind me calling her the web’s No 1 cancer bitch.” She kept the title, adding: “But not, I hasten to add, cancer’s bitch.”
She is survived by Peter; her parents, Jane and Ian; and brother, Jamie.
• Lisa Lynch, writer and blogger, born 30 August 1979; died 11 March 2013