Tributes to teenager who raised £28,000 for charity
18:18 23 January 2013
A family has paid tribute to their “inspiring, loving and comical” daughter and sister who died from cancer aged 19.
Rosie Van Raalte died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, surrounded by her family, on January 12. Throughout her life, she managed to raise £28,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust by organising a charity walk and holding fundraising events.
Rosie, who lived in School Lane, Little Melton, with her parents.Andy, 51, Helen, 47, and sister Sophie, 20, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, when she was 14-years-old.
“She was bright, caring, loving and funny. She had a determination and stubbornness and wouldn’t let anything get in her way. The fact that she wasn’t well wouldn’t stop her from doing anything she put her mind to,” Mrs Van Raalte said.
Rosie had a close relationship with her family and enjoyed spending time with her friends.
The former head girl at Hethersett High School achieved all A and B grades at GCSE level despite completing the coursework and exams in just one year.
Rosie gained her A-levels at Wymondham High School before starting a degree in Child Nursing at the University of Southampton in September 2012.
“She embraced school – she absolutely loved it,” Mrs Van Raalte said. “She had always wanted to work with children – she either wanted to be a primary school teacher or a children’s nurse. What she went through having osteosarcoma in 2008 gave her the inspiration to want to help other children.”
The teenager also volunteered on the Buxton ward at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital once a week in the evenings.
A high-achiever, Rosie had earned her silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, where she walked 60km over three days, despite having half of her fibula removed and being type one diabetic. She was a joint winner in the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards for bravery in 2009 and shortly before she died she won the Lesley Jones award for community service at Wymondham High School.
In 2010, Rosie used half of her prize money from the Bernard Matthews Youth Award to organise the Blue Moon Walk, a five-mile charity walk to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
“The walk will be her lasting legacy,” Mrs Van Raalte said. “More than 400 people took part. I think the reason people took it to their hearts was because they knew exactly where the money was going and that it would help other young people from this region who would be later diagnosed with cancer.”
She was a keen dancer and performed with the Hethersett-based Yvonne School of Dance at their show every other year at the Norwich Theatre Royal.
In 2010 she met Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Thursford Christmas Spectacular.
“It was a lovely ending to a fantastic year,” Mrs Van Raalte said. “It was wonderful for Rosie to meet Prince William and gain recognition for what she had achieved.”
She died from leukaemia which was caused by the chemotherapy she received for osteosarcoma.
“It’s very rare that this happens,” Mrs Van Raalte added. “But Rosie wouldn’t want us to be sad. Her strength and determination will give us the strength to carry on our lives in a positive way.”
Rosie’s funeral will be held at St Remigius Church in Hethersett tomorrow.