Heartbreak at loss of ‘lion-hearted’ nine-year-old Aurora

Aurora passed away surrounded by her family

A brave little girl who fought a rare and aggressive cancer for more than a year has lost her battle.

Nine-year-old Aurora Pile-Gray, who was just days away from her 10th birthday, had been brought home this month for her final “days or weeks” after a bone marrow transplant procedure failed.

Devastated mum Keisha Pile-Gray said the family had brought her daughter home to be with her loved ones.

The mum-of-three, who lives in Garlinge, has now  shared the devastating news that  Aurora passed away yesterday (June 29).

Keisha posted to social media to say: “Our hearts are broken. Rumour has it that a lot of people have already been discussing our loss, so despite not being ready to admit it to the world, I didn’t want to feel as though the world was talking about it without us.

“After eight days at home, our baby took her last breath shortly before midday yesterday with Ethan and I by her side.

“She went peacefully, and spent the past 8 days surrounded by the love of all of her parents and siblings. I could write a million words about how I feel, but none of them would do justice. Grief is completely overwhelming and we’re grateful that all of our family and friends have been showering us with support.

“Rest peacefully beautiful girl. 07.07.11-29.06.21.”

Just over a year ago Aurora – affectionately known as Rory- was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma – which affects blood and bone marrow – after complaining of pain in her chin and finding a lump in her neck.

In the months that followed the St Crispin’s schoolgirl underwent intensive chemotherapy and stays in Royal Marsden and Great Ormond Street hospitals.

She was declared cancer free in September, November and just last month but cruelly suffered relapses.

In January the family were told they may lose their little girl as the cancer again took its devastating toll..

A discussion with the consultant over going home from hospital and preparing for end of life care took place but  ‘lion-hearted’ Rory was not ready to give up her fight against Burkitt’s Lymphoma – which affects blood and bone marrow – and her family were not ready to let go.

Aurora was declared cancer free again at the end of April.

Using trial drug Inotuzumab, and the cancer all clear, opened the way for the youngster to undergo a bone marrow transplant on May 13 – all the more vital as chemo had wiped out her immune system.

The transplant took place at the Marsden and the hope was the cells would begin to reproduce in her own body and allow her bone marrow to work as normal.

But the family were also told there was just a 10-20% chance that the transplant would achieve long lasting remission.

Sadly the transplant was not successful,

Speaking earlier this month after making the heartbreaking decision to bring Rory home, Keisha said: “I want people to remember her the way they last saw her. Happy and not in pain.”

Rory won the hearts of the Thanet community during her battle with cancer with many following the family’s progress through Keisha’s blog Growing Pains and Paper Planes and also donating to a fundraiser for life-saving treatment.

People also signed up on the bone marrow register following Keisha’s inspirational campaign to highlight the desperate need for donors, especially people of mixed ethnicity.


  1. So so sorry to hear your sad news. My heart breaks for you and your family.She was such an inspiration and credit to your family. Sending love to you all ❣️❣️

  2. So sad a very brave family condolences on your loss treasure all your memories ❤️❤️❤️

  3. So sad to read this after following her fight for life over the past year. I have a daughter the same age and cannot imagine how much pain her family are in. Rest in peace x

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