Sisters who battled cancer together as children have been parted after one lost her fight with the disease.
Rebekah Rae died on Tuesday morning, 20 months after relapsing with Ewing’s sarcoma.
Against the odds, the 20-year-old and her sister Megan, 17, were diagnosed with unrelated cancers just eight months apart when they were aged 12 and 10.
The sisters from Kirkcaldy, who shared a particularly strong bond owing to what they went through together, were given the all-clear after gruelling chemotherapy seven years ago.
But a biopsy confirmed that Rebekah’s cancer had returned early last year and chemotherapy and radiotherapy failed.
Hopes for her recovery were dashed when Rebekah after she travelled to Manchester last week to take part in a clinical trial.
Her condition deteriorated rapidly in Manchester and she was too ill to participate.
She was home for only an hour before she was rushed by ambulance to the Victoria Hospital, in Kirkcaldy, where she died days later with her family around her.
Her parents Julie and Murray said they were devastated to lose their “beautiful, strong, brave girl”.
Murray said: “We are absolutely devastated, we will never, never get over losing her.
“We are a close family and Rebekah was very, very close to her sister. Megan is devastated too.
“The doctors did everything they could but unfortunately it was a very aggressive cancer and it took her life.”
Julie said Rebekah, who was just months from graduating with an HND in beauty therapy from Fife College, was well-loved by everyone who met her and was a strong young woman.
Murray said: “Nothing seemed to phase her, even though she went through all these treatments.”
Family friend Roberta Kent, who helped raise money to support the family during Rebekah’s treatment, continues to raise funds to help them in their grief and for a funeral. Donations are being collected on a GoFundMe page.
Rebekah was a loyal fan of Fife Flyers and the ice hockey team is to hold a minute’s applause in her honour.
In a tribute to her the club said: “The Fife Flyers organisation are saddened to hear of the passing of Rebekah Rae. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
The Fife Flyers organisation are saddened to hear of the passing of Rebekah Rae. Our thoughts are with her family and…
Rebekah, a former pupil of St Andrew’s High School, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in September 2011.
In May 2012 the family was struck a second blow when they learned that Megan, then a pupil of St Marie’s Primary School, had B-cell lymphoma, a form of blood cancer.
The odds of the sisters having unrelated cancers at the same time were said to be equivalent to winning the lottery twice.
Both girls were treated at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, in Edinburgh, and Rebekah was given the all-clear in August 2012. Megan finished her treatment, which was also successful, a month after.