‘Grace would be so proud’ says father of inspirational teen who founded charity

Grace and her dad

Grace and her dad - Credit: Archant

A charity founded by an inspirational Young Citizen Award winner, who sadly died after bravely fighting a six-year battle with brain cancer, has gone on to raise a phenomenal amount of money.

Grace and her dad

Grace and her dad - Credit: Archant

After months of exhausting treatment and surgery Grace Boxall, 15, set out to help others by taking part in mini marathons.

Wanting greater control over how funds were spent, she founded Smiles with Grace in 2011 before losing her fight for life in 2013.

“Smiles has raised in excess of £130,000 since its inception, Grace would be so proud,” said Peter Boxall, Grace’s father.

“She was very determined for the charity to do well and worked very hard to get it off the ground.

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“Because of what she wanted we have worked hard to keep it going and it is very good of people to support it, when you think about what everybody is asked for these days.”

So far, the charity has donated funds to the neurosurgery ward at Great Ormond Street for children where Grace was treated and has sent an eight-year-old boy, suffering with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma on a dream trip to New York to meet his pen pal.

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Funds are also being spent on childhood condition, spinal lipoma, research projects to help surgeons determine the best course of treatments.

“We wanted to raise money to make a difference,” added Peter.

In support are 20 patrons from Grace’s year group at Chigwell School, High Road, Chigwell, who Mr Boxall says are extremely supportive of the charity.

“They are the ones who are the driving force in all respects,” he says.

“We are getting money from all over the place.

“It is very important that we don’t just spend the money on anything, but now we have a big chunk of money, if the research team require more, we are ready to help them again.”

Grace collected her Young Citizen Award certificate from Prince Edward in 2011 at the Grange Farm Centre, High Road, Chigwell.

“The Young Citizen Awards was fantastic,” said Mr Boxall

“Grace deserved it.”

Mr Boxall says many times the achievements of young people are ignored and the recognition of the achievements of young people is what makes the awards important.

“They can feel what they are doing is being recognised and can move on positively from that,” he said.

“It makes people smile and believe in themselves.”

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