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Fun-loving young Ria loses cancer battle

PUBLISHED: 12:44 23 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:10 30 June 2010

Ria Helsdon

Ria Helsdon

Great Yarmouth schoolgirl Ria Helsdon has lost her four-year battle with cancer.

The 14-year-old died at home on Monday, having beaten the original tumour once.

Great Yarmouth schoolgirl Ria Helsdon has lost her four-year battle with cancer.

The 14-year-old died at home on Monday, having beaten the original tumour once.

When it returned in her lungs last summer her parents were told there was no hope of recovery.

Ria's plight triggered fundraising efforts and many messages from friends and strangers. Her courage and determination in the face of serious illness were an inspiration to everyone who knew her and she became known for wearing trendy bandanas and a beaming smile to hide the reality of her treatment.

Between truly intense ordeals there were periods of brightness and times when it looked like she had beaten the disease. Holidays and happy times punctuated the four year period of her illness but fear and dread were never far off as her close-knit family willed her to live.

Ria's bone cancer tumours were first diagnosed in her femur and knee in 2006 on the eve of a family holiday to Spain, chemotherapy and surgery leaving her desperately ill and prone to infection.

However she always seemed to bounce back with amazing resilience, making her death this week all the more shocking.

Her parents Roger and Heather said this week they were determined to give her a good send off at her funeral on Monday at St Nicholas Church, Great Yarmouth.

Full tribute and funeral details in this week's Mercury

IF you would like to place a tribute message on this page, please email it to anne.edwards@archant.co.uk. You must include your full name and contact telephone number in case we have a query. Your telephone number will not be published.

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