A grieving auntie has paid an emotional tribute to her “amazing” niece who tragically passed away from a brain tumour.
Jenna Carrington received the heartbreaking news that she had developed grade four astrocytoma and had a life expectancy of 9-18 months on New Year’s Eve 2020.
She died aged just 15 at her home in Washington, Sunderland, on May 3.
Jenna’s auntie, Amanda Coughlan, said: “The whole family is heartbroken.
“She remained so positive and tried to live each day the best she could. She was the most amazing girl.
“It’s been the hardest time of our lives.”
Jenna’s family first became aware something was wrong in 2019, when Jenna complained of headaches and feeling sick. She also had some mild seizures and lost her appetite.
Jenna was 13 at the time, and her GP thought it was because of ‘hormones’.
On December 19, she felt unwell at school and on her way to the school nurse, she had a seizure and fell, smashing her face on a table.
She was rushed to Sunderland Royal Hospital and had a CT scan which found a large mass on her brain.
Jenna, who attended Oxclose Community Academy in Washington, was taken by emergency transport to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle to have a biopsy.
Amanda, 36, added: “We thought Jenna may have had diabetes or epilepsy, but we never imagined that she would have a brain tumour.”
On Amanda’s birthday, 15 January 2020, Jenna began a six-week course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Amanda, an IT major incident manager, said: “Lockdown began which meant we weren’t allowed to see Jenna.
“She was very family-oriented, so it was the hardest time of our lives.”
By November, Jenna’s condition had deteriorated and a shunt she had fitted became infected.
Amanda said: “I told Jenna that I was pregnant, and she was over the moon. The news really gave her a boost.”
Just seven weeks after Jenna’s passing, Amanda welcomed her daughter Ella into the world.
“If she had been able to hold on for seven more weeks, she would have met her baby cousin Ella.”, Amanda added.
Now the loving auntie is taking on a fitness challenge to raise funds and help find a cure for brain tumours in her niece’s memory.
Amanda is currently taking part in the 100 Star Jumps a Day in November challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.
She added: “It’s been the hardest time of our lives, so it’s really important to do the star jumps challenge to raise money for Brain Tumour Research so other people don’t go through what she has been through.”
Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.
Matthew Price, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “It’s fantastic to have Amanda on board for this exciting new challenge, it’s really inspiring.
“Jenna’s story reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone, at any time.
“I would encourage everyone to join our Facebook group and get involved as we prepare to have fun, get fit and raise funds for vital research into brain tumours.”
Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK.
The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.
To support Amanda’s fundraising, visit this link.
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