A GRIEVING family today spoke of their pride for their “brave and beautiful” daughter – and vowed to keep her memory alive.
Kim Rossall, 21, died on her parents’ wedding anniversary after battling a rare form of cancer for three years.
Despite her deteriorating condition, Kim acted as an ambassador for Cancer Research UK, leading hundreds of fundraisers on the Race for Life on Blackpool Promenade and completing the 5k stretch.
Even her final days, she was still determined to help raise awareness and funds to help other cancer victims.
Today, her family spoke to The Gazette for the first time since her death and promised to continue the legacy Kim had started in her honour.
The former Baines High school pupil started a ‘Bucket List’ of things she wanted to do before she died, which will now be ticked off one by one by her family and best friend, Naomi Palfreyman.
Sister Cassie said: “Naomi and I have said we’ll finish the Bucket List for her.”
Kim, of Gateway Close, Thornton, first noticed an ache above her knee in April 2009 but put it down to a sports injury as she regularly played netball with Wyre Netball Club.
But in August that year a series of scans and visits to Manchester Royal Hospital showed that she had a large cancerous tumour, more than 10 inches long, in her right leg, called Ewings Sarcoma. Kim was immediately admitted to The Christie hospital in Manchester, where she received treatment over the next few years.
Kim was given extensive treatment, including high dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy and discharged a year later.
Her time at the specialist hospital inspired her to take up a degree in nursing at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2010 but after a year, the cancer returned. Kim was told it was incurable.
She died on Friday August 17 – her parents’ wedding anniversary – and just three days before her sister Cassie’s 18th birthday.
Dad Philip said: “Twice they thought she’d got shot of it, twice it came back. She went through some tough treatment.
“She died on our wedding anniversary. She made sure I’d always remember the date because every year she used to have to remind me of it.”
Mum Elaine added: “We knew she was in the best place. It was shocking but it was the right place.”
The family are now determined to continue her legacy by carrying on her inspirational fund raising and completing the Bucket List.
Kim astounded her family when she completed the Race for Life on July 4.
More than 60 friends and family waited at the end of the stretch, giving her a tearful welcome as she crossed the finish line with her mum, sister and close friends.
Philip said: “How on earth she did it, I don’t know. She couldn’t walk to the end of the street.
“She was a big lover of life, she was strong and brave. She would do anything to help anybody.
“And she was beautiful.”
Before her death Kim enjoyed holidays, a spa break, driving sports cars and carrying the Olympic Torch.
She had completed a wealth of ‘tasks’ from the quirky, wearing odd shoes for a day, to simple pleasures like watching the sunset over the beach and making homemade lemonade with her sister, Cassie.
Only the day before she went into hospital for the final time, Kim enjoyed a helicopter flight with her mum and best friend, Naomi Palfreyman.