Mum stands in for daughter on Redbridge Olympic Torch relay after 14-year-old has brain haemorrhage

Olympic torchbearer Grace Boxall suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and was given a “slim chance” of survival days before Sunday’s relay, but the 14-year-old’s mum bravely ran in her name as Grace battles to recover.

Grace, who won the 2011/12 Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award, was supposed to run past crowds in Cranbrook Road, Barkingside, on Sunday morning as the London 2012 Torch made its way through the borough.

But just 11 days earlier, a quarter of Grace’s brain filled with blood as she suffered a haemorrhage.

That night a surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital told parents Peter and Karen there was little chance of their daughter pulling through.

Karen, 49, said: “She’s a really determined young lady. She’s fought her way through.”


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Grace, who goes to Chigwell School, High Road, Chigwell, slipped into a coma which was later induced.

She came out of it but slipped back into it about a week ago.

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Grace is now out of intensive care but has lost movement in the right side of her body. She cannot talk and is undergoing physiotherapy.

“She can’t communicate but she squeezes your hand and gives you a high five and the thumbs-up, and she has nodded sightly,” said Karen.

“We’re really hopeful she will recover but we’re taking each day as it comes.”

With their daughter unable to carry the Olympic Torch, Karen and Peter were left with a difficult decision.

Karen, a banker, said: “We talked it through and decided Peter or me would be best to carry it on her behalf.

“In the future when she looks back, I think she will be pleased.

“It was difficult to run with it because I didn’t feel happy at all. I was thinking: ‘I’m doing it for Grace, I’m doing it for Grace’.

“I made sure I smiled because people were videoing it but I had mixed emotions.”

She has since shown the Torch to Grace, who remains in hospital.

On July 14 Grace’s friends walked from her house in Buckhurst Hill to Great Ormond Street Hospital as part of a planned fundraiser for her own charity, Smiles for Grace.

The charity was founded after Grace was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2007.

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