A Queensferry teenager who recently lost her brave battle with cancer is set to have a lasting legacy.
Rachel Appolinari (19) tragically passed away at the end of August just weeks after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Now Rachel’s family is to set up a charitable fund in her name to fundraise for the Edinburgh Centre for Neuro- Oncology at the Western General. Their initial aim is to raise £20,000 for the centre.
A former pupil of St Margaret’s Primary and St Augustine’s in Edinburgh, a celebratory mass of Rachel’s life was held at St John the Baptist RC Church in Corstorphine last Saturday instead of the local church to ensure that everyone who knew the young woman could pay their respects.
Rachel’s father Steve (51), said: “Everyone connected with Rachel is still trying to understand how this young woman handled the terrible news of her brain tumour with such bravery and good humour.
“Up until 11 weeks ago Rachel was the fit and healthy young woman everyone in her company had grown to love.
“At her funeral there were more than 500 people, with a large contingent from ward three at the Western General, testimony yet again to the impact this girl made in her time at the hospital.”
While Steve and Rachel’s mother Gill were distraught at her sudden death, the way in which their daughter had dealt with the news since diagnosis has inspired hundreds of people around her.
He said that after his mother passed away last year to cancer, Rachel had urged her dad and sisters to fundraise for Marie Curie Cancer Care, raising over £4000 for the charity.
Now the family and friends, both locally and elsewhere in the UK, plan to stage a number of charity events in her memory.
He said: “While there are a number of cancer charities, raising funds for research into brain tumours is relatively low on the list, we want to change that.”
Steve said of his daughter: “Rachel was renowned among friends and family for her honesty, great sense of humour and her love of get-togethers, she was a ‘true party girl’ with a smile that lit up any room she entered.
“The loss to Rachel’s sisters, Francesca, Catriona and Sophie, is a crushing blow but the girls take solace from the amount of time they spent together at the family home, holidays and the many great occasions they stepped out together,”
He said the family had have been deeply touched by the kindness and support from both the local and wider community. He also made special mention of Rachel’s boyfriend James Howe, who never left her side in these last few months.
*If anyone would like to donate to the fund’s charity page in memory of Rachel they can so by visiting www.justgiving.com/Rachel-