A family have raised more than £20k in memory of their “bubbly” 21-year-old daughter who was ‘always smiling’, after she lost her life to a rare cancer.
Jenna Patel, from Belmont, was known for her beaming smile, and happy go lucky personality that could light up a room.
Before she was diagnosed, she was in her last year at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, training to be a primary school teacher.
Mum Priti Patel says that Jenna had dreamed of being a teacher from the age of eight and was due to finish university in September 2021.
But it was cut short when she was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in July 2021.
Priti has since committed to raising money for Ewing Sarcoma along with her family, as well as cancer research, so that Jenna is “not forgotten” and so that as much awareness is spread as possible.
She said: “It’s just overwhelming how much people want to help and raise awareness.
“It means everything to raise this money.
“We don’t want to forget her.
“Friends, strangers and family have continued to keep her memory alive.
“I could sit around crying or make a difference and give that hope to other families going through it too.”
Jenna’s story even attracted the attention of three young people last Saturday who took part in a 10k muddy race for life in Manchester, where they have raised over £700 so far.
Priti added: “It’s so nice of them to do this because we don’t know them.
“They are young, and they thought why don’t we know about this, and they wanted to make a difference.
“My husband’s cousin messaged me to say they were doing something because of Jenna’s story.
“People can often think that something doesn’t affect them.
“And when something comes on the TV people can change the channel or flick the page when it’s in a magazine.
“But when it’s your child you can’t change the channel.
“So, for them to do this is really amazing.”
In total the family have raised £21,148, with £13,213 of this sum going to Ewing Sarcoma Research Trust and the rest going to Cancer Research UK.
The family also raised £6,061.75 for cancer research in October this year as part of the 10k Shine Night walk in Manchester, which is part of their overall total.
Priti said: “It was meant to be a small group of us, but it ended up being 48 of us.
“My son Liam drives everything.
“He has been so supportive, and we have gone through everything together.
“We just want to make a difference and make sure people know about it.
“We want there to be more tests sooner rather than later.
“If we can help one family, then it’s all worth it.”
She says that her next step is to continue raising as much awareness as possible, especially around the cancer affecting people so young.
She added: “There aren’t any TV adverts about Sarcoma when it affects children and young adults.
“We need to shout it out in schools and universities.
“There are no side affects until you get a lump.
“So, it’s too late by the time the lump appears.
“If I knew anything about Sarcoma, I think we would have pushed it.”
When Jenna was diagnosed, Priti says that it came as a huge shock because Jenna was so healthy.
Priti added: “You don’t expect children to have cancer and you never think it’s gonna happen to your children, not in your wildest dreams.”
The GoFundMe is still up and running, created by the group of strangers who wanted to make a difference (www.gofundme.com/f/lets-fight-ewings-sarcoma-together).
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