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Sophie Fairall: Ten-year-old girl with rare tissue cancer dies after embarking on celebrity bucket list

‘She was the most beautiful, funny, caring, strongest girl ever’ saidhermother

Liam James
Monday 20 September 2021 21:13 BST
Sophie was able to tick cooking with Gordon Ramsay off her list
Sophie was able to tick cooking with Gordon Ramsay off her list (Fairall Family)

Sophie Fairall, the young cancer patient who set out to live a “lifetime of experiences” in her final few months, has died.

The 10-year-old girl from Stubbington, Hampshire was diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue cancer last September.

After finding out in June that her illness was terminal, Sophie set about completing a “bucket list”. Items included working for a day in a supermarket, cooking with Gordon Ramsay and running an ice cream van in her village. She achieved these goals and many more.

Several celebrities sent messages of support to Sophie during her illness. Pop stars Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa sent video messages, as did TV's Ant and Dec.

Sophie appeared on ITV’s This Morning in the summer, a day after feeding penguins at Chessington World of Adventures, another list item.

In her final days she received videos from England footballers Mason Mount and Jack Grealish, who both praised Sophie for her bravery. Local team Fareham Football Club held a minute-long applause before their match on Saturday, hours after Sophie passed.

Charlotte Fairall, Sophie's mother, thanked all those who sent their regards for their “incredible support”.

Sophie learns the piano with a hospital play assistant (Fairall Family)

The Fairall family drafted the wishlist after Sophie's illness, rhabdomyosarcoma, returned in June and she decided not to continue chemotherapy.

Some items on Sophie's list regarded her treatment at hospital. She campaigned for there to be a play assistant on the children's ward seven days a week. She also asked for better food for children in hospitals, and for food to be provided to parents.

Sophie's family have said they want her legacy to be a change in the the treatment of children with cancer. They were shocked to find that only one in five children will survive a relapse of rhabdomyosarcoma. They said that no new research had been done into the disease for more than 50 years.

An online fundraising page for children's cancer charity Alice's Arc has been set up Sophie’s name on JustGiving and has attracted more than £50,000 in donations so far.

Announcing her daughter's passing in a post on the Facebook page that followed Sophie's experiences, Ms Fairall said: “Who would've thought a 10-year-old could have such a huge impact on so many people.

“It feels so surreal and although I knew she was dying I still can't believe she's gone.”

She added: “Sophie had so much more to give and it shouldn't have been this way. She was the most beautiful, funny, caring, strongest girl ever.

“She would light up a room wherever she went.”

Though the experience was “incredibly painful, gruelling and relentless”, Ms Fairall said, Sophie “faced every part with a smile and positivity”.

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