FAMILY and friends of an 18-year-old girl who died of a rare cancer have rallied round to raise funds for a nursing support service in her memory.

Minha Ahmed passed away on April 16 two years after being diagnosed and her death came just two years after her sister Emaan died suddenly at the age of 13.

Now nearly £6,000 has already been raised from 319 supporters by her cousin Faiq Aziz and friends who are doing a daily run or walk over the month of Ramadan to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Faiq paid tribute to his cousin as brave and never complaining. She lived off Thornton Road with her family and went to Beckfoot Thornton School.

He added: "How brave she was. You never heard her complaining.

"She just said 'I'm fine' when she was obviously in pain. Despite many challenges during her journey, she faced them with optimism, fearlessness and most importantly, always smiling.

"Her attitude during these tough times was nothing short of an inspiration. After her chemotherapy, Minha had lost all of her hair at 17 and had to wear a wig, but acted as if there was no change to her life despite feeling self conscious. When her hair grew back, it had gone from being super straight to an Afro but she never complained, even though she hated it at first (we all grew to love it!).

"Despite having major surgeries to remove her tumour and a very tough round of chemotherapy, she revised hard and still attended school till the very end, achieving all of her GCSEs. She remained quick witted with us all.

"Minha never lost sight of the end goal of going to university and even during her final months, she was thinking of how she could study with her condition, making plans to get a portable oxygen cylinder as her breathing deteriorated.

"Despite the ever-building burden her body suffered, Minha’s mental strength remained untouched. She never ever lost faith that she would get better and as a family, we will always be in awe of her strength and determination.

"She loved drawing and reading, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and K Pop. She had an anime page on Instagram."

Faiq, who is 18 and goes to Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield, said he was hoping himself and four friends could each run 734km over the holy month, a tribute to the 734 days that Minha battled with cancer from her diagnosis, totalling at least 3,670km.

But the idea has snowballed among his acquaintances and the community and now more than 50 people are contributing kilometres done to the cause during the lockdown, including people from Thornton.

He said he started with a £750 target but that was beaten in an hour so it was raised and now stands at £7,500 with many friends contributing.

He added that Minha's story was a good motivation to keep them all going. He has set up a club on the Strava exercise site and it now has upwards of 60 members who were being very supportive.

Faiq is uploading his runs to his Just Giving page to encourage donations.

Macmillan Cancer Support was chosen because of the palliative care they gave Minha.

Faiq said: "In January or February we were told things were not looking good.

"Macmillan gave her support 24/7. They gave her oxygen and morphine when she was in pain and needed it. There were always nurses coming to see her."

On the Just Giving page he writes: "For this reason we would like to honour not just a beautiful life, but an amazing organisation so they can keep on supporting families like Minha’s.

"Minha celebrated her 18th birthday just a few weeks ago in quarantine and looked forward to celebrating with us all once this was over. Unfortunately she is not going to be able to do this now however we are hoping this run can double up as a celebration of her turning 18.

"Minha will be truly missed by us all, but we know she’d be so overwhelmed with all the love surrounding her now. Her passing has taught us all so much about life and how lucky we are and this run is only the beginning of honouring her legacy."

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