Stop treating me, says teenager with leukaemia

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The Independent Online

A 16-year-old girl who has undergone two bone marrow transplants in her fight against cancer has chosen to forego further treatment.

Josie Grove, from Corbridge in Northumberland, was diagnosed with leukaemia two years ago. She received bone marrow from her younger brother before he was born and, after suffering a relapse, from an anonymous donor, before being told her cancer was terminal. Her family are in full support of her decision to concentrate on enjoying life rather than suffer any further treatment.

The talented artist and swimmer, who will accept a bravery award today after being nominated by her nurses, said yesterday: "I've had enough of hospitals. A course of drugs I took in September left me feeling ill, shaky and aching, and it didn't do much to fight the cancer. I want to get on with my life and enjoy spending time with my family."

Miss Grove said when she learnt she had myeloid leukaemia, while her family lived in Thailand, she did not realise it was cancer. "But when I later found out what it was, I didn't let it affect me," she said.

Her family returned to the UK so she could be treated. Her father Cliff, 46, said: "Out little boy Charlie [now eight months old] turned out to be a 100 per cent bone marrow match and the doctors were able to take bone marrow from the umbilical cord."

Doctors said Miss Grove's bone marrow matches just one in six million people.

But despite radiation and chemotherapy his daughter suffered a relapse less than six months after the transplant at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey. Last May, she had a second bone marrow transplant from an anonymous donor at Newcastle General Hospital. She now has fortnightly blood transfusions.

Mr Grove said: "The transplants were pretty tough. She has just had enough of it and she is not frightened of the future and can understand it."

Mr Grove and wife Jacqui, 44, approve of her decision to die at home. " She is a strong character and has even made it easier for us. We are just taking each day as it comes," they said.

Miss Grove, who left school in September due to her illness, will spend Christmas with her brothers Freddie, 13, and eight-month-old Charlie, and 11-year-old sister Libby.

Her courage has been recognised by the Brave Hearts charity. She will be honoured at a ceremony at Newcastle United's St James's Park today.