Northern Ireland news

Co Down teenager dies following battle with rare form of spinal cancer

Rachel Osborne from Bangor died on Sunday following a diagnosis last year of a rare form of spinal cancer

A CO Down teenager who was last year diagnosed with a rare form of spinal cancer has died.

Rachel Osborne, who was 19 and from Bangor, was diagnosed with a tumour on her spinal cord last July.

After the teenager began suffering reduced power in her right leg and subsequent foot drop during lockdown she had an MRI scan which revealed the tumour.

She underwent emergency surgery which revealed the devastating news that she had a diffuse midline glioma, a very rare and aggressive tumour residing inside her spinal cord, for which there is currently no cure.

At the time the teenager was looking forward to leaving home to study anatomy at the University of Glasgow.

The diagnosis prompted loved ones to launch a fundraising drive to raise the money for other treatment options including travel to the US for participation in a life-prolonging drugs trial.

At the time of setting up the GoFundMe page, her family described her as "vivacious and fun-loving" and someone who "always thinks of everyone else but now is the time where we are asking family and friends to help Rachel".

"We want to do everything in our power to help her, so any donations to support her treatment in America would be hugely appreciated and we can't thank you all enough for the support."

An update on December 19 on the GoFundMe page, which had raised more than £160,000, revealed that Rachel had returned from four weeks in the US where she "got started on the drug trial and she will continue to take the drug, undergo monitoring tests and return as required to monitor her progress".

However, it was revealed at the weekend that she passed away on Sunday with her family around her.

In a death notice, the teenager was described as "much-loved", adding that she would be "desperately missed forever".

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