Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Being able to lead a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life is a privilege that is often taken for granted. Sadly, many people have to live with the heart-wrenching pain of seeing their beloveds battle ailments, which can sometimes be life-threatening.

One such disease is cancer, which can be fatal enough to claim someone’s life. While many people can recover from this condition and live a normal life surrounded by their loved ones, others might have to prepare themselves for the hardest goodbyes. A similar scenario unfolds in today’s story.

Vanessa Kelly and her husband John lived with their three children, Grace, Marissa, and Nathan, in Oadby, Leicestershire, England. Grace’s family described her as a lovely, cheerful, and amiable child who loved talking to people and playing her favorite game, Fortnight, on the Xbox.

Grace’s parents, Vanessa and John, were in the process of raising £200,000 (approximately $240,000) for their daughter’s treatment in Germany when a heart-shattering piece of news ambushed them.
However, nobody knew that they would live to see the day when everything would change for them drastically, leaving them in shambles. It all began when Grace went for a routine eye check-up in Specsavers, Wigston, in August 2021.

Much to the then-12-year-old girl’s surprise, the optician discovered a swelling behind her eyes. Neither Grace nor her family thought it was something serious, at least in the beginning. Soon afterward, the teenager had to undergo a few tests that proved incredibly heart-rending.

On August 27, young Grace was diagnosed with a stage four Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) at Leicester Royal Infirmary after an MRI scan found a tumor the size of a 50p piece.

At the time of her diagnosis, Grace was set to begin Grade 7 at secondary school and eagerly looked forward to seeing her friends. She was said to have had an eight-hour operation and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but unfortunately, the tumor grew back.

Despite her terrifying ordeal, the young girl remained strong and courageous. Anyone who saw Grace for the first time would have never guessed what she was going through.

But after her cancer diagnosis, the Leicestershire teenager’s life changed drastically. Weekly hospital visits occupied a large portion of her day, and she sometimes went out to have lunch with her friends.

Per her family, Grace was determined to fight cancer like a warrior and return to school. But her mother, Vanessa, shared that she felt extremely let down when she found out that her daughter could not be treated in the UK.

The mother-of-three revealed that her young girl’s best shot at living was the pioneering and costly life-saving immunotherapy treatment in Germany, which was unavailable on the NHS.

The NHS treats brain tumors using radiotherapy and chemotherapy, but treatment plans have reportedly not changed much in years. According to Brain Tumor Research, brain tumors kill more kids and adults under 40 than any other cancer.

Vanessa voiced her concerns and said she feared for people like Grace, who were left fighting for their lives due to the lack of funding options. “There is something that might be able to help, but we can’t access it,” said the distraught mother.

The late pop artist Tom Parker also raised his voice regarding the issue before passing away from the same type of tumor Grace had in March 2022.

Grace’s parents, Vanessa and John, were in the process of raising £200,000 (approximately $240,000) for their daughter’s treatment in Germany when a heart-shattering piece of news ambushed them.

On Saturday, August 13, Grace passed away peacefully, surrounded by her loved ones, after a year-long battle with cancer. Her parents were crushed and couldn’t bring themselves to come to terms with the gut-wrenching trauma. Vanessa expressed:

“Our brave and beautiful girl took on her cancer like a warrior. [She] never complained and always had a smile.”

The heartbroken mother described her daughter as perfectly polite, intelligent, funny, and an amazing older sister to her younger siblings. She shared that she was still in denial that Grace was no more but added that her baby girl would always be with her in soul and spirit. Further, she said:

“We had 12 amazing years with Grace but it wasn’t enough, we miss her already. Fly high our angel Grace.”

Vanessa said she was shocked and frustrated that the UK didn’t offer immunotherapy, and the standard of brain tumor treatments had been the same for the past two decades. The grief-stricken mother also participated in a marathon in May to raise money for charity while fundraising for Grace.

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