A party to mark the day of the 12th birthday of a little girl who passed away in June 2021 at just nine years old will be held at Westbrook’s Sunken Gardens this month.
The celebration of former St Crispin’s pupil Aurora Pile-Gray’s life has been organised by mum Keisha and will raise money for The Aurora Fund with Young Lives vs Cancer.
Those attending are asked to wear white to the ‘fun and colourful’ celebration of Aurora’s life. Funds will be raised at the event which will include a raffle, tickets available on the day, with dozens of prizes from local businesses and organisations.
Aurora’s 12th birthday party will take place on Friday, July 7th from 5pm at the gardens on Royal Esplanade, Westbrook.
The youngster, her mum Keisha and partner Ethan and siblings, from Garlinge, won the hearts of the Thanet community as Aurora fought a rare and aggressive cancer and Keisha bravely raised awareness of the condition and the desperate need for bone marrow donors.
Aurora was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma on 5 May 2020, after Keisha had taken her back and forth to the doctors and A&E several times in the space of a few weeks. Aurora had started to feel a pain in her chin and then a few days later a lump appeared on her neck. She was put on antibiotics but the lump increased in size and another appeared so they went to A&E where they prescribed Aurora with a new course of antibiotics.
The antibiotics did not help and after tests, doctors said she would need to be transferred to London to be seen by a range of specialists.
Once they had been transferred to London, it was confirmed that Aurora had Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
She went on to have four cycles of chemotherapy treatment at Royal Marsden hospital. Aurora was declared as being in remission but sadly, just two weeks later, they received a call to say she had relapsed, the cancer had returned. Aurora was then put on another form of treatment called RICE chemotherapy.
On 23 December, an MRI test showed she was preliminary clear but then a later PET scan on the 31st showed cancer ‘everywhere north of her pelvis’. On the 4 January, Aurora’s family and the doctors discussed her options and they were advised to take her home. Aurora’s family asked for another opinion and for drug trials, and it was agreed that she would go on a new treatment. On 29 April, they found out she was in remission once again so could have a stem cell transplant.
She had radiotherapy and chemotherapy alongside one another, then had her transplant on May 13th. Initially she did well but after five weeks, she relapsed again.
On the 15 June, the family were told that Aurora had relapsed extensively and there was no further treatment available. They were given the option to take her home or stay in hospital. Aurora returned home on 21 June and passed away just a week later on the 29 June 2021.
The youngster’s family were supported during Aurora’s cancer treatment and since she sadly died by Young Lives vs Cancer, the UK’s leading charity for children and young people with cancer. They had a Young Lives vs Cancer social worker who would help them face the emotional, practical and financial impact a childhood cancer diagnosis brings.
The Aurora Fund page says: “Aurora was born on 7th July 2011 and from the moment she entered the word, she became her mum Keisha’s best friend.
“Aurora stole the hearts of every person she ever met even before she could talk with her big doe eyes and curly hair, but as she grew, so did the love that everyone had for her. She was far older than her years, witty as they come, and funny as anything.
“Aurora was an incredible big sister, giving Bonnie, Ada and Oscar the best role model to look up to. She had a habit of bringing out the best in people, an amazing daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, and friend.
“Showing strength and resilience throughout, Aurora fought Burkitt’s Lymphoma for more than 12 months and underwent a bone marrow transplant to try to beat the disease but sadly in June 2021, mum Keisha was given the devastating news that there was nothing more than could be done to save her precious girl.
“Sadly, on 29th June 2021, just days before her 10th birthday, Aurora passed away. Her mum shared the news with the local community, many of whom had rallied around the family during the toughest of times.”
Find the Young Lives vs Cancer charity at younglivesvscancer.org.uk