Chrissie de Dulin never lived to see the dramatic change in her three daughters, but two years on, they know she would be incredibly proud of how they turned their lives around.
In the midst of her cancer battle, the 67-year-old Christchurch mother urged her daughters to pay attention to their wellbeing.
What followed is a remarkable weight loss, with the Canterbury mums shedding 50kg between them, dropping up to six dress sizes and getting into the best shape of their lives.
"She would be looking at us and feel very blessed that we've managed to achieve what we have and that we're living really healthy lives," says eldest daughter Sharon Ross, who lost more than three dress sizes after joining homegrown programme Busy Mum Fitness, just as her mum was given weeks to live.
Now proudly showing their svelte bodies, Sharon (38), Lisa Harrison (36) and Alice Jackson (33) say they know they are honouring their mother's dream to lead healthy lives.
While all three have slimmed down, it's been a dramatic transformation for Lisa who, at 80kg, felt her life was at stake after her mother's brave battle.
"My main focus was to become healthy so I would be around for my children," says Lisa, who is mum to Jasper (12) and eight-year-old Zoey.
After nursing her mother through the final stages of cancer and seeing her sisters slim down before her eyes without stepping foot in a gym, the barista also joined Busy Mum Fitness – and hasn't looked back – losing a whopping 23kg.
"I think because my focus and goals weren't necessarily on weight loss, it actually took pressure off me to lose the kilos," explains Lisa, who is now a trim 57kg.
While there's plenty to smile about now, when the going got tough, Lisa didn't have to search far for motivation.
"When I first started, the workouts were really hard because you're so unfit, but I got through them because I thought if my mum could go to hospital and get her blood transfusions, then I can get through my workouts."
Dairy farmer Alice says while she started the fitness plan to shed unwanted baby weight, the focus shifted after a conversation with her mum two days before she died.
"She reassured me that she didn't care about my body image but it was what was inside of me that counted," recounts the mum of Caleb (3) and Abbie, six months.
"I was doing the journey originally for weight loss and getting my body in shape, but when Mum said she cared more about what was inside me, my journey completely changed to being a lifestyle change and believing in myself. It still ended in weight loss, but it was a far more healthy way of looking at it."
Alice went on to lose 15kg, going from 68kg down to 53kg. "I use Abbie in my workouts as a weight doing squats," she says, just two kilos shy of her postpartum goal weight.
Early childhood teacher Sharon says just watching the weight melt off Alice and knowing she wanted to look good for summer helped her.
But the very morning she signed up, the mum-of-three was hit with the bombshell that her mum had a month to live.
"It was really hard because I didn't know whether I should continue on and focus on me when everything was going on, or whether I should focus on mum and spend the most quality time I could with her."
Her mother insisted that her health was important.
"I decided that I could do both and that I could look after me as well as spend quality time with her," says Sharon, who went from 69kg to 57kg.
Busy Mum Fitness founder Kelly Rennie calls the three sisters "inspirational".
"It's been a real blessing to not just change one life but help three sisters do it, especially during the time of watching their mum suffer as well. They always thank me but I always thank them for doing it and what they've done. That means more to me than anything."