'Never give up. If you do, you'll have nothing left'

DEATH OF JAYMEE BOWEN
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The Independent Online
The image of Jaymee Bowen that remains is of a courageous and bright child who refused to despair and said that if she had met Stephen Thornton, the chief executive of Cambridge Health Authority, she would have "whacked" him.

Last October, when her leukaemia was in remission, she gave an interview to BBC Television's Panorama in which she told Mr Thornton: "Thank you for nothing. Now look at me. I'm fine. You could have paid for it. You had the chance and you blew it."

Jaymee said she was prepared to go through with whatever treatment was necessary to give her another chance of life and had been angry with the health authority's decision.

"I would have gone to court and stood right there in front of them and said, 'no matter what it takes I am going to go through this and I'm going to get better'. I'd rather have gone through more suffering to live than not go through anything and die. Of course there are some children who wouldn't do that. But I'm not one of them."

Her leukaemia had returned in January 1995: "I just got called out of assembly [and told] you've got a bug in your blood. You have to go back to hospital. I'm thinking 'oh no here we go'.

"I thought it would just be something very slight that they could get rid of with some antibiotics. And I went in and I found out that I had to have more chemotherapy.

That didn't exactly make me feel any better because I'd just spent the past three or four months growing my hair. And it didn't make me feel any better that I had to go and lose it again for the fourth time."

For some time Jaymee was unaware that she was Child B around whom a cause celebre was unfolding. When she saw a news report about it she told her father that the child should be treated. "According to Daddy I was in hospital one day and I saw something or other on the news or in the newspaper and apparently I said, 'Daddy if I was Child B I would have the che-motherapy' ...

"That thought did cross my mind many a time, 'If I was Child B I would definitely have the treatment because I'd just been through it and it had made me better'."

She finally realised she was Child B before her father told her: "I kind of figured it out because in some of the cards I got in hospital they put 'to Child B, love from whoever', and I'm thinking 'Well if it says to Child B and it's addressed to me then I must be Child B'."

Jaymee said she would continue fighting no matter what happened: "I say never give up hope unless you are just on the last little drop of life you have in you. Never give up. Because if you give up, you will just end up with nothing left."

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