Opticians discovered swelling behind Grace Kelly’s eyes in August last year when she went to a Specsavers branch for a routine check-up.
The schoolgirl was referred to Leicester Royal Infirmary where an MRI scan discovered she had a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumour the size of a 50p coin.
Grace, of Oadby, Leicestershire, underwent an eight-hour operation and several courses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy but a scan revealed the tumour had grown back.
Her devastated family then began trying to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to fund pioneering treatment in Germany as she could not be treated in the UK.
But on Tuesday (16 August) heartbroken mum Vanessa, 32, revealed their “brave and beautiful” daughter had lost her year-long battle with the disease.
‘She always had a smile’
Grace passed away on Saturday (13 August) with her family by her side.
Vanessa said: “Our brave and beautiful girl took on her cancer like a warrior, she never complained and always had a smile.
“Our perfect girl was polite, funny, brave, beautiful and smart.
“We were so lucky to have her as our daughter, and she was an amazing big sister to Marissa and Nathan. She will be missed by family and friends so much.
“All our hearts are shattered at the loss and we still can’t believe she has gone. She will always be with us.
“We had 12 amazing years with Grace but it wasn’t enough, we miss her already. I don’t know how we will go on without her. Fly high our angel Grace.”
Fundraising effort for treatment
Vanessa and husband John, 42, had been trying to crowdfund £200,000 to go to Germany for pioneering private immunotherapy treatment.
She added: “I find it shocking and frustrating that these pioneering treatments are not available in the UK.
“There is something that might be able to help but we can’t access it.
“We are shocked that the standard of care for brain tumours has been the same for the last 20 years.
“It’s so distressing knowing there’s no cure for what Grace had, but we don’t want to give up.
“There is such a lack of funding, and we desperately need more treatments available.”
Brain Tumour Research say brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.
Hugh Adams, head of stakeholders relations at Brain Tumour Research, said: “We’re deeply saddened to learn that Grace has died from this devastating disease and our thoughts are with all those who knew and loved her.
“We are really grateful to Vanessa and John for working with us, as it’s only with the support of people like them that we’re able to progress our research into brain tumours and improve the outcome for patients like Grace who are forced to fight this awful disease.
“Brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any time.
“Too little is known about the causes and that is why increased investment in research is vital.”
Anyone wishing to make a donation in Grace’s memory can visit the Brain Tumour Research website to donate.
What are the symptoms of a brain tumour?
Symptoms of a brain tumour can vary depending on the part of the brain that is affected.
For some people, symptoms will develop gradually over several months or years if the tumour is slow growing, while for others symptoms can come on more quickly over weeks or days.
- Seizures (fits)
- Nausea, vomiting and drowsiness
- Mental or behavioural changes, such as memory problems or changes in personality
- Progressive weakness or paralysis on one side of the body
- Vision or speech problems
Other symptoms may also include loss of taste or smell, difficulty with speech, and mobility and balance issues.