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Grace, 13, youngest on 9-hour fundraising walk
A TEENAGER who has seen family members battle cancer joined more than 1,000 fundraisers on a charity walk through London.
Grace Vassallo, 13, was the youngest of the 1,500 men and women who took part in the nine-hour London Moonwalk.
The youngster vowed to raise as much money as she could for the breast cancer campaign, to fund vital research after discovering a family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
Grace, a pupil at Fitzwimarc School, in Rayleigh, joined her mum Karen, 47, along with a group of family friends in a team called Pace4Grace.
She said: “Both my mum and my gran have had cancer. It is something that runs in the female side of my family.
“I have grown up knowing I am at risk and I will be put on a screening programme early.
“They were both so brave and I want to be as brave as they were.
“It is sad and devastating at times, but I want to raise as much money as I can so they can develop research to catch this thing early.”
The youngster helped to raise more than £3,000 for breast cancer charities and plans to take part in more fundraising events.
She added: “I don’t want people to go through something like this.
“It was really hard for me to see my mum in hospital when she had cancer and I hope they can catch it quicker in future with better research.”
Mum Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago, but thanks to her annual screening programme, doctors were able to catch it early.
Karen’s mum Maureen died from ovarian cancer ten years ago, and her grandmother also died of ovarian cancer.
Karen, of The Chase, Rayleigh, said: “I had an aggressive form of cancer, but thankfully it was caught very early.
“I had both my breasts removed because even though one of them was fine, the doctors advised I have them both removed because of the high risk.
“This is something Grace is going to be susceptible to and hopefully she will benefit from further research from the money we raised.”