Tributes to Norfolk cancer charity fundraiser who carried the Olympic torch
The family of a Norfolk woman who refused to let cancer stop her being an Olympic torchbearer have paid a moving tribute to her courage and bravery after she died earlier this week.
Rachel Lane, 27, from Wymondham, found the strength to carry the Olympic torch through Aldeburgh on July 5 despite having been physically weakened by treatment for the cancer, which was initially diagnosed in her breast in April 2008, but spread to her arm, chest wall and the lining of her lung.
As well as playing her part in the Olympic festivities, she also raised thousands of pounds for the cancer charities Keeping Abreast, Big C and Wymondham-based Star Throwers, which supports and advises people affected by cancer or at risk of developing cancer.
She drew up a wish-list of things she wanted to achieve in her life after being inspired by the Hollywood movie The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.
The men's final at Wimbledon, meeting TV presenter Jools Holland and seeing rock star Rod Stewart live in concert had all been ticked off and she was planning to go travelling through Italy and the rest of Europe.
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She died at her family's home on Monday.
Her sister Amanda, 38, described how her death had left a hole in the hearts of her friends and family, who were in a state of shock.
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She said doctors had told her parents Rachel only had a few days to live about six or seven weeks ago and Rachel had continued to believe she would overcome the cancer up until the evening before she died.
Amanda added: 'She was not going to let it beat her and I think to have that ability to believe that you are going to beat it takes such strength and courage and bravery. Her bravery and courage will always be an inspiration to us as a family.'
She recalled some of the happy memories she spent with her sister as she ticked off the goals on her wish-list, including a casino night at Brasted's restaurant in Norwich, when an Elvis impersonator from London performed for her.
She also had a famous Hollywood dress flown in from Florence to London so she could model it, while another friend booked a table for her at The Ivy, a world famous restaurant in London frequented by the rich and famous.
Of her Olympic torch experience, Amanda said: 'She was really honoured to be able to take part in such an amazing event. I know she was completely overwhelmed by how it made her feel and the support that she had not just from family and friends, but from all the people who were there to cheer her on.'
Her family, including parents Michael, 61 and Patricia, 59 and brother Nick, 41, have set up the charity The Rachel Lane Fund to continue Rachel's work, which will be managed by The Norfolk Community Foundation.
The fund will carry on her good work and act as her legacy supporting others.
A celebration of Rachel's life will take place at 11.30am on November 6 at Wymondham Abbey.
Her family are encouraging people to donate money to the Rachel Lane Fund instead of buying flowers. Donations can be made at www.mycharitypage.com/TheRachelLaneFund.