Bolton Student teacher, 21, who died from rare cancer honoured with fundraising
Jenna Patel died in May due to Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer
Jenna Patel (Photo: GoFundMe)
Family of Bolton teacher who died from rare cancer has started a fundraising for Cancer Research UK ahead of world cancer day on Saturday (4).
Jenna Patel, 21, who wanted to become a primary school teacher, died of Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer, last year, reported Manchester Evening News.
To keep her memory alive, her family has been raising funds for cancer charities. They participated in the night-time Shine walk in Manchester last autumn to collect more than £6,000 for Cancer Research UK.
“Throughout absolutely everything Jenna never ever stopped smiling and that’s what people always think of, her beautiful smile. When we were told she had cancer, I felt numb. The news was too much to take in knowing that her dad was only a few miles up the road also going through cancer treatment,” her mother Priti was quoted as saying by Manchester World.
“Jenna remained so positive and determined that she inspired us all. Her death has left a huge hole in our lives and we miss her very deeply. But she wanted Liam to have an amazing career and go into medical research to make a difference. And we want to keep her memory alive to help others and raise as much money as we can to get rid of such a horrible disease.”
Jenna discovered a lump on her shoulder after gardening with her mother and brother last year. Initially she thought it was an insect bite. When she visited GP, the medic initially thought it was a cyst but later it was diagnosed as a rare cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma.
Jenna was referred to The Christie for a course of chemotherapy. Sadly, her father Manish was also undergoing chemotherapy at the same time.
Jenna hoped to return to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk to finish her studies the following October because she was making good progress throughout the autumn. Doctors informed her she should be fully recovered by the following March.
Unfortunately, the tumour began to grow very aggressively again after Jenna stopped receiving chemotherapy and was scheduled to take a vacation from treatment before beginning radiotherapy. However, plans for treatment had to be abandoned because she needed further scans.
After being referred to the specialised Birmingham Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, she underwent surgery to remove the tumour just a few weeks before Christmas.
Just before her 21st birthday, Jenna was informed that her tumour had spread to lungs, and after more chemo, her family was made aware that the cancer was terminal in April.
According to reports, Jenna organised her own funeral, asking that her favourite musician Stormy be played, that no one be upset. She even wanted to organise a party after the funeral ‘to celebrate her life’. She passed away at home on May 13.
Her brother Liam, 18, will be sitting A levels this summer and hopes to study Biomedical Research as he wants to ‘make a difference for people like Jenna’. Her father,52, who works for Canon, continues to receive monthly cancer treatment.
“This World Cancer Day, we want to say a heartfelt thank you to amazing supporters like Priti, Liam and Manish. Their generosity of heart in fundraising and bravely sharing Jenna’s story is incredible. Regular giving is crucial to our work, because it means we can fund long term research – research that could lead to new discoveries about cancer and unlock new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat it,” Jane Bullock, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for the North West, told Manchester Evening News.
“One in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but all of us can help beat it. So, we hope more people across the North West will donate monthly – if they can. We’re working towards a world where we can all live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.”