Tribute to ‘amazing’ toddler after she loses cancer battle

PUBLISHED: 08:41 18 September 2012 | UPDATED: 08:48 18 September 2012

Jennifer loved Minnie Mouse, books and animals

Jennifer loved Minnie Mouse, books and animals

Sean and Vicky Bawden

A PROUD mother and father have paid tribute to their ‘amazing’ three-year-old daughter after she lost her cancer battle, just days before she was set to become a big sister.

Jennifer Bawden died last week after a near lifelong battle with a terminal brain tumour.

But Sean and Vicky Bawden told the Mercury this week her courageous fight against the odds left them dumbfounded, as she battled to live a normal life despite doctors’ pessimism. Vicky said: “She was cheeky, stubborn and full of mischief. She would just smile and make friends wherever she went.”

Jennifer was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma brain tumour shortly before her first birthday in 2010 and despite several operations, chemotherapy and scans she continued to live a normal life as best she could.

Twelve months ago Vicky and Sean got married and used the occasion to raise money for children’s charity CLIC Sargent. And Sean said Jennifer, typically, wanted to take centre stage.

He said: “She was amazing. We were really proud of her that day but she wanted to come and stand at the front with us. She always wanted things on her terms. We always said she took after Vicky in that sense.”

Jennifer underwent an eight-hour operation in November to remove some of the tumour, which could have left her paralysed. But 24 hours later she shocked doctors by being up and about and wanting to play with her toys.

Despite the successful operation, within a fortnight the tumour had returned and she had to go to Charlton Farm children’s hospice in Wraxall in January.

Vicky said: “The staff there are wonderful. They did everything, both for Jennifer and for us.

“They are wonderful, wonderful people and it’s such a beautiful place to visit.

“When you hear of a hospice you think of it being run down, but it is nothing like that. It has gardens, a spa and Jennifer loved hosting tea parties in the wendy house.”

Jennifer’s illness, which left her needing to be fed through a tube to her stomach, did not stop her developing her own personality.

Vicky, aged 28, said Jennifer loved Minnie Mouse and animals and would regularly get outfoxed by her cleverness.

As a special treat the family, who live in Worle, headed to London earlier this year to visit the zoo and even had the chance to meet Minnie Mouse over breakfast.

Sean, aged 31, said his daughter also liked nothing better than having a good book read to her.

Vicky is currently 37 weeks pregnant and said it seemed odd after Jennifer had spent a long time bonding with her future brother and sister talking about animals.

Jennifer died on September 4 and funeral arrangements are being made.

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