Inspirational teenager Grace Boxall loses battle with brain cancer days before 16th birthday

PUBLISHED: 11:15 03 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:16 03 October 2013

Overall Young Citizen Award winner Grace Boxall from Buckhurst Hill,

Overall Young Citizen Award winner Grace Boxall from Buckhurst Hill,


An inspirational teenager who won our Young Citizen award has died in the arms of her mum after a six-year on-off battle with brain cancer.

Grace at the Mayor's Community Awards, at Redbridge Town Hall,Grace at the Mayor's Community Awards, at Redbridge Town Hall,

Grace Boxall, who 18 months ago told the Recorder, “you’ve got to be positive, you can’t linger on things that have happened,” died five days before her 16th birthday.

Presents bought for her will remain unopened, but her incredible bravery and humour in the face of adversity has sparked outpourings of affection.

The student of Chigwell School, High Road, Chigwell, died at Great Ormond Street Hospital on Thursday, hours after her parents Peter and Karen were told she would not survive.

Karen, 50, who cradled her daughter as the machine keeping her alive was turned off, said: “Her little body just gave out in the end.”

Grace was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007 and entered remission in early 2009. But a brain haemorrhage in July 2012, days before she was due to carry the Olympic Torch through the streets of Redbridge, saw her back in hospital.

It was only last month that she was able to go back home and return to school, but she was again admitted to hospital three weeks ago with bleeding on her brain.

“We believed she could get through anything,” said Karen. “She kept surviving against all the odds. It felt as though she was infallible.”

In 2011 Grace set up a charity, Smiles with Grace, to help other sick children.

Her charity work led to her being named Young Citizen for that year.

Karen, who said Grace’s final words to her a week before her death were, “I love you”, added: “She was always positive, always looking forward. She was so generous.”

Dad Peter, 53, who lives with Karen in Buckhurst Hill, said: “Whenever someone would say, ‘I’m so proud of you Grace’, she would say ‘why?’.

“That’s why everyone was inspired, she didn’t go about shouting. She got on with it.”

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