Tragic Grace, 4, died of cancer just weeks after posing for this first day at school snap – and tot has inspired awareness cards to spot signs
Mum Jennifer Kelly has set about issuing 900,000 new parents with awareness cards to warn them of the warning signs of childhood cancers
A FOUR-year-old girl died of cancer just eight weeks after posing proudly for this picture on her first day at school.
Grace Kelly had shown no signs of ill health when she dressed up in uniform to meet her new classmates.
But three weeks later she developed abdominal pains before being diagnosed with an aggressive form of childhood cancer.
Grace’s devastated mum Jennifer Kelly, along with a group of trustees, created a charity in memory of her daughter.
They have now designed awareness cards highlighting the key symptoms of childhood cancer, which will be handed to 900,000 new parents every year.
The Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust decided to create two different awareness cards with one directed at GPs and another parent-friendly card.
Mum Jennifer, 34, hopes the Ladybird acrostic card – which tells new parents to look out for notable changes in appearance, discomfort and swelling – will provide clear instructions as well as boosting awareness.
The other card lists red flags which could help concerned parents reach an early diagnosis.
Jennifer told The Mirror: “Many children get one or two of these symptoms at some point. But if they are persistent, troublesome and are a cause of worry parents should seek advice.
“We don’t want to alarm or scare parents, we just want to make them aware by saying ‘here are the signs. Remember them.’
“We miss Grace so much but my girl is saving lives and we are so proud of her.”
Grace was rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitis but tests later found it to be a malignant rhabdoid tumour.
Doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital hoped to catch it in time but tests revealed the tumour to be terminal.
She died in November 2014 leaving behind mum Jennifer, dad Gareth and little sister Jess, who suffers from a metabolic bone disorder and a rare form of colitis.
One in 500 children get some kind of cancer before they turn 14 according to figures from Cancer Research.
The Grace Kelly Ladybird Trust has already raised £160,000 but the distributing of awareness cards is thought to cost £20,000 each year.
This weekend Jennifer and 27 others are planning to run on behalf of the charity, which was set up to fund research into childhood cancers.
A group of 14 will run a 10k while raising money for the charity.
Jennifer initially signed up to the 10k challenge but later decided to upgrade her efforts to a half marathon, which she has dubbed a “huge challenge” as she has never taken part in a race before.
The group has so far managed to raise over £2,500 on a Virgin Money Giving page found here.