BRAVE schoolgirl Niamh Power has lost her battle with a recurring brain tumour - but her family today pledged her death will not be in vain.
The nine-year-old underwent three operations and countless bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in a bid to rid her of the mass in her brain. But each time surgeons removed the little girl’s tumour, it returned.
South Yorkshire rallied to her cause, raising thousands of pounds as Niamh’s parents searched for a way to treat their little girl.
Her family, of Maple Avenue, Maltby, today thanked supporters for their generosity, and pledged the money raised will go to help other children. After doctors said there was nothing more they could do for her, dad Simon, aged 35, and mum Marie, 40, hired a private medical consultant and considered sending their daughter to America for treatment.
They managed to get Niamh, a pupil at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Dinnington, to a clinical trial in Leeds. But scans revealed the tumour - an astrocytoma usually found in adults - was growing back a fourth time. Niamh died in her parents’ arms at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice on Friday.
Simon and Marie said: “She passed away peacefully in her sleep and in our arms. Our loss is now heaven’s gain.
“Although she is finally without pain, and even though we were expecting it, it goes without saying we are absolutely devastated.
“Caring for Niamh meant we have both been unable to work for almost 18 months, but the financial support from so many well-wishers, many of whom we didn’t even know, enabled us to maintain some sort of normality in our lives.
“As a result of this kindness and generosity, which we will never be able to repay, we were able to concentrate all our efforts on Niamh to make sure she had every possible medical opportunity. In times of trouble you discover your real friends.”
Her grandfather Brendan, 67, told The Star: “All the people who have fundraised have been stupendous.
“The money will not go to waste.It can’t help Niamh now but it can help others. We are going to make donations to Bluebell Wood and other children’s charities.”
Brendan said Niamh’s big brother Sebastian, 11, was ‘devastated’ - but still planning to perform in his school’s end-of-term play next week in honour of his sister.
Well-wishers helped Niamh achieve some ‘amazing things’ during her final months, he added, including visiting Father Christmas in Lapland and meeting boyband One Direction.
Brendan added: “It’s been a very tough few months, but we have done some nice things. She loved meeting One Direction - she said that was the best day of her life.
“We celebrated her ninth birthday in May in Centre Parcs - she wasn’t very active but she managed to swim.”
Simon and Marie added: “Nothing ever could, and nothing ever will, make the pain go away, but the support was, and still is, so important. We will always remember.”