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|FOUR-YEAR-OLD Rachel Bratt has lost her fight for life against a rare childhood cancer.||Scotland|
|Contamination level: Severe illness! Forced to abandon a home.|
|Author: Raymond and Charlotte Bratt||Created: 14 Nov 2005||Updated: 14 Nov 2005||Viewed: 3891 time(s)|
|The St Andrews youngster passed away in her sleep just over two years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.||This case file has 1 entry and has been commented by 1 person|
|She thought it was perfectly normal to go around with a feeding tube and no hair.||Created: 14 Nov 2005|
|FOUR-YEAR-OLD Rachel Bratt has lost her fight for life against a rare cancer.
The St Andrews youngster passed away in her sleep just over two years after being diagnosed with neuroblastoma.
But before she died in the early hours of November 2 her parents Raymond and Charlotte, who also have a two-year-old son Lewis, brought forward
Bonfire Night so she could enjoy the fireworks which had delighted her last year.
Knowing Rachel, whose health had taken a turn for the worse, was unlikely to make it until November 5, they staged a mini-display in their King Street garden
a week early.
Raymond said, “She remembered what they were and said she wanted more sparklers.
“She spent about 20 minutes watching them.
That was her last really good moment.”
Rachel was diagnosed in August 2003 with the cancer which affects only 100 children in the UK each year.
Neuroblastoma starts in the adrenal gland and can spread to the bone marrow then nerves throughout the whole body.
Rachel underwent chemotherapy in Edinburgh, before surgery to remove a tumour.
More chemotherapy followed, and for a few months Rachel went into remission but in December last year she relapsed.
Raymond said, “We were told right at the beginning she had a one-in-three chance of getting through this.
If she had a relapse it would be quick and there would be no backup plan.”
In her final months, all doctors could do was make her more comfortable, prescribing morphine, sedatives and anti-sickness medication.
Despite her illness, which meant she lost her hair and had to use a feeding tube, Rachel kept high spirits.
Charlotte said, “She could teach you a lot. She didn’t moan about the least little thing and never let anything get her down.
“She thought all two-year-olds go through the same thing. She thought it was perfectly normal to go around with a feeding tube and no hair.
“She was a very independent little girl—she liked to do things herself.”
Raymond and Charlotte simply told her she had “bad things” inside her and when the end was near decided to spare her the truth.
Charlotte said, “We were told to tell her she was going to die but decided not to.
It would have taken her spirit away.
“It wasn’t Rachel that gave up in the end, it was Rachel’s body.”
During her illness, Raymond and Charlotte ensured their little girl, who attended Canongate nursery, lived as rich a life as possible.
She went to the set of Balamory to meet the stars from the TV hit, saw Thomas the Tank Engine in Brechin, Storybook Glen in Aberdeenshire and went to Edinburgh Zoo with charity Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia (TCCL).
She loved playing in her garden, so Raymond and Charlotte made it into her mini park, complete with a two-storey playhouse.
The couple are now staying positive for son Lewis, who only knew his sister when she was ill.
And they are continuing to work as committee members with TCCL so they can help other families who have children with Rachel’s condition.
Instead of flowers, donations were collected for TCCL at Rachel’s funeral, raising almost £800.
Charlotte said they would also continue their research into the effects of mobile phone masts, which they believe were partly to blame for Rachel’s condition. They lived close to a mast in Balmullo just before Rachel was diagnosed.
She said, “They continue to stick these masts up and ignore what has been said about them.
Until they are 100% certain they don’t affect people they shouldn’t put them up.
“I will keep fighting. I don’t want other families to go through what we have.”
By Cheryl Wood
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