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Inspirational teenager loses brave battle
An inspirational teenager who raised over £40,000 to help seriously ill young people after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour has died.
Grace Boxall, of Fernside in Buckhurst Hill, who would have turned 16 today, lost her brave six-year battle with cancer on Thursday.
Today fellow pupils and staff at Chigwell School remembered her and celebrated her life as hundreds of balloons were released.
Purple balloons, Grace’s favourite colour, were sold to raise money for Smiles With Grace, the charity she set up in 2011.
Grace was first diagnosed days after her tenth birthday and immediately underwent emergency, nine-hour surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Despite undergoing 33 sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy, a scan in 2008 revealed the tumour was growing.
Grace underwent surgery for the second time and after ten hours, the tumour was removed.
She later took part in the Race for Life twice before, in 2011, founding her charity, which collected thousands for Great Ormond Street through various fundraising events.
However, Grace suffered a brain haemorrhage days before she was due to carry the Olympic Torch last year, leaving her in a coma for a week.
Grace’s mother, Karen, carried the torch on her behalf.
She returned to school in September, but a week later her condition deteriorated.
Mrs Boxall, 51, has vowed to continue to help people in her daughter’s memory.
She said: “We fully aim to carry on the work that Grace did. She wanted to help other children going through serious illness and we will continue this in her name and honour
“We have received messages and donations from friends, families and pupils at the school which have been so touching, even some from people we have never met.”
School headmaster, Michael Punt, said: “Grace was a remarkable, special, young lady, who, although she had a lot of her own health difficulties, still managed to do a huge amount for other people.
“I am incredibly proud of how the pupils have reacted at this incredibly difficult and upsetting time.
“The school has really come together as a whole to help each other and remember Grace and everything she did.”
Grace’s funeral and celebration of her life will take place at Forest Park Crematorium in Hainault, on October 8.
It starts at 2.15pm and will be followed by a service in St Mary’s Church, Chigwell, at 4pm.
Refreshments will be available in the school hall afterwards, while the family have requested no flowers on the day.
For donations, visit www.justgiving.com/SmileswithGrace08-10-13.
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