Tributes to cancer death teen from Hornchurch

A teenager who died of a rare cancer was robbed of the chance to meet film director Tim Burton, one of her heroes, when she died just two days before he was due to visit.

Rebecca Kerr, of Crescent Avenue, Hornchurch, had lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is spread throughout the body.

The 14-year-old was given the all-clear just before Christmas, but a month later the disease returned and Rebecca passed away at home just a few weeks later.

Her parents have paid tribute to the care she receieved, saying Rebecca would have found it impossible to cope without it.

For most of her treatment Rebecca was in the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at University College Hospital, London.

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Her mum, Sharon, said: “What Rebecca had was very rare and we had no idea what was happening when she first started feeling ill.

“I didn’t know the symptoms of leukemia. I don’t think you do unless you know someone that’s had it.”.

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Doctors initially thought Rebecca had arthritis, because a pain and then a lump developed in her right wrist. But once she was admitted to University College Hospital her cancer was discovered.

She had chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, recieving the all-clear on December 6.

The Frances Bardsley School for Girls pupil celebrated her 14th birthday at home on New Year’s Eve with her mum, dad David, 47, and older sister Lauren, but began to show signs of tiredness and was soon told the cancer had returned.

Although she was given chemotherapy to slow the disease down, Rebecca did not respond and was taken home.

Rebecca’s family has asked for donations to be made to The Teenage Cancer Trust and Clic Sargent in her memory, and have so far raised more than �500.

Mrs Kerr said: “Teenagers don’t want to be treated like children.

“The trust’s wards fill a niche between children’s and adults’ wards and there aren’t enough of them in the country.”

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