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Smiling at life, at death


Josie Grove was very young when she faced death, and poignantly wise.

Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia at 14, she had undergone two failed bone marrow transplants and rounds of agonising treatments. She was 16 when consultants told her that another round of painful treatments in hospital would prolong her life, but not for long.

Josie thought about it carefully and made up her own mind. Her parents respected her decision.

Josie decided not to return to hospital, but to create memories with her family and to do one last thing for others.

She loved the idea of dragonflies - how the larvae lie underwater gazing at the surface until they finally float to the top to break free as dragonflies - but they cannot go back down to tell others how wonderful it is.

Before she died, Josie set up a Dragonfly charity to help terminally ill children. She had found arts and crafts and a small bequest the most helpful gifts for her, so she established her charity to distribute arts and crafts and small bequests to terminally ill children.

In her remaining weeks she created a design for gold and silver dragonflies and saw them manufactured. Proceeds from sales go to her charity.

One of her happiest days, just before she died on 26 February 2007, was presenting a cheque for £10,000 to the Children's Cancer research department at RVI Newcastle.

The United Kingdom has over 170,000 registered charities, each one started by a person or group of people with a dream of helping others. Josie was one of those people.

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