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Kelly Turner, from Dover, aged 17 who had Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumours, a rare form of cancer has died

By Matt Leclere

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A teenager who bravely battled against cancer has sadly passed away.

Kelly Turner, 17, died overnight in hospital after a downturn in her condition, her parents said.

She was diagnosed with the rare form of cancer called Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumours (DSRCT) in October 2015.

Kelly Turner, October 2016
Kelly Turner, October 2016

The condition has no chemotherapy cure and Kelly, her family, friends and members of the public had been raising money for treatment in the USA.

Her parents Martin and Linda Turner, released a statement confirming the news from hospital in London, where Kelly was being cared for.

It said: "Our best little friend, soulmate, bright, intelligent and beautiful Kelly sadly passed away at 2.45am on Monday November 6.

"Thank you for supporting fundraising to save her life, In particular thank you Dover for your love.

"Upshot is that there is NO chemotherapy for Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumours.

"Research to discover chemotherapy for DSRCT is imperative."

She had been taken in to the Padua Ward, the children's ward at the William Harvey Hospital.

But as her condition worsened she was transferred to the Royal Marsden Hospital in Fulham, west London.

Mr Turner said it was unexpected after she had received better scan results but had been struggling to eat anything before the weekend.

Kelly captured the hearts of fundraisers and supporters with dozens of people hosting events to raise money for her treatment.

The only place she could receive treatment was at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York - but the cost was £1 million.

Kelly - funeral to celebrate her life. Picture: Kelly Turner Fundraising
Kelly - funeral to celebrate her life. Picture: Kelly Turner Fundraising

The campaign, called Kelly Turner Fundraising, raised just over £600,000 for the treatment.

Last week, a callous thief branded "a parasite on society" was jailed after stealing collection boxes raising money for Kelly's treatment.

Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke, who has supported Kelly and her family, led the tributes to her today.

He said: "Devastated by news that Kelly Turner passed away early this morning. Thoughts and prayers with Kelly’s family and loved ones. Rest in peace."

Tributes are being paid to Kelly, her bravery, resilience and looking ahead to the legacy she leaves.

Gloria Brissenden said: "So, so sorry to hear the news. A brave beautiful soul who has left a great legacy to so many. My thoughts and prayers are with you all."

Kelly Turner from Dover needed £1m for life saving surgery
Kelly Turner from Dover needed £1m for life saving surgery

Becca Loomer added: "Thinking of all Kelly's family and friends at this sad time. Kelly will always remain an inspirational young lady."

Louise Graham-Welton said: "There are no words now that can truly convey what I would like to say.

"Kelly was brave and inspiration to all in her fight, her passion and determination. Dover will be in mourning today. She has had everyone behind her.

"Will be thinking of Martin and Linda today, my thoughts and love with you all today. RIP Kelly."

In an extended statement MP Mr Elphicke added: "The response from the Dover community has been incredible.

"So many people got involved to do their bit for Kelly. It felt like the whole town was pulling together. Whether you knew Kelly personally or not, it didn't matter. Everyone wanted to help. To give Kelly the chance and the hope she deserved.

"And this is part of what makes Kelly's death, aged 17, so devastating.

"It feels like the passing of this incredible brave girl is more than just a single life lost. It's the loss of someone who united the entire community. The town is in mourning and Kelly and her family will be in our thoughts when we pause for a minute’s silence on Sunday".

Kelly attended St Edmund's RC School in Dover from 2011 to 2017 and joined the sixth form at the town's Astor College for the Arts this September.

St Edmund's head Mike Wilson said: "The whole of the community of St Edmund’s is deeply saddened to hear of Kelly’s death.

“Kelly was such a kind and generous student and she touched the lives of so many during her six years at St Edmund’s.

“She became an exceptional example of courage and resilience to us all over the last two years."

Astor Head teacher Lee Kane said: “Kelly was very selfless, she was an individual who looked out for others and was very kind-hearted.

“She had a real determinations and a commitment to achieve and to do her best.
“Here GCSE results were a testament to her real focus and determination.

“To sum up. Kelly was a brave and beautiful young lady who has left a legacy for many.”

Richard Esdale, a friend of the Turner family, said: "Dover has lost an angel."

He was one of the first fundraisers when the campaign for her began in summer 2016, organising four Concerts for Kelly over two weekends in Dover and Folkestone that July.

These were done through his Dover entertainment company JIGinthBOX.

That same month he produced the Band Aid-style record for Kelly’s cause, featuring a range of local musicians.

It was the song Proud, the solo single by M People singer Heather Small.

Today he said: “Kelly will be remembered for her bravery.

"She was inspiration to so many other young people. Her smile captured everyone.”

Mr Esdale said that he had never seen so many people in Dover rally around the cause for one person.

He said: “The support has been just been phenomenal. Kelly is going to leave a legacy of bringing people together.

“Wherever you turned in Dover everyone knew about Kelly and was trying to support her and the family.

“Dover has lost an angel today.”

A fundraising event at Dover Town Hall on Saturday is due to raise funds for the appeal from 10am to 1pm.

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