‘Forever in all our hearts’ - heartbreak as brave Arabella, 6, loses cancer fight
PUBLISHED: 16:31 12 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 12 September 2019
She was, to all her family and friends, the “bravest, courageous, beautiful girly that we have ever had the privilege to love”.
But even though the cancer that six-year-old Arabella Scannell fought so hard to beat has finally claimed her life, her parents say she died showing all the bravery and inspiration that characterised her life.
The youngster became a source of inspiration to many across her home town of Ipswich for the way she battled the rare and aggressive Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) for more than a year, undergoing two gruelling rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
As her family struggled to cope, it was Arabella who rallied them to stay positive throughout - telling them: "I don't want you to cry. I don't want us to be down."
It seemed as though her courage and positive spirit had beaten the illness against all odds, with Arabella returning to St Jospeh's College in Ipswich earlier this year.
But despite going from "strength to strength", she suddenly relapsed as her leukaemia returned aggressively.
Despite another round of chemotherapy, she began palliative care at the start of the summer - with her family raising about £30,000 through crowdfunding to help make her last wishes come true.
Mother Ellie Scannell said that Arabella "loved every moment with her family and friends over the summer", adding: "She made the most of making every possible day an adventure, and this filled her with excitement."
Her final summer included the holiday of a lifetime to Disneyland Paris, as well as a ride in sports cars and a VIP trip to Jimmy's Farm.
Mrs Scannell said: "Obviously Arabella was full of life up until the last week of her life.
"Sadly the leukaemia took hold and once her siblings returned to school, Arabella unfortunately wasn't strong enough took to her bed and this is where she remained until her passing.
"Arabella took her last breaths at home with her family just as she had wanted."
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Mrs Scannell added that her "beautiful daughter" was "supported throughout by the wonderful oncology team at Ipswich Hospital".
On a Facebook page set up by Arabella's family to keep friends updated on her progress, Mrs Scannell added: "Our princess Arabella, you have been the most bravest, courageous, beautiful girly that we have ever had the privilege to love.
"From the moment you were born you have brought love, happiness and laughter into our lives.
"We now have to say our goodbyes but will always remember your happy smiley face, thirst for life and your kind caring soul.
"We will always love you and we are so proud of you.
"Always and forever our bubsy."
Arabella's Facebook page has also seen an outpouring of emotional tributes from those who knew her.
One said: "Heartbroken for you all. Your strength and courage are an inspiration."
Another said: "We love you all so so much. There are no words. Arabella will forever be in all our hearts."
Arabella is survived by her parents Mark and Ellie, brothers Bailey and Taylor and her adoptive sister Zoe.
Her funeral will take place at on Friday, September 27 at 11am at All Saints' Church in Sproughton.
Flowers and charitable donations to Ipswich Hospital's Children's Appeal will be accepted.
Relatives have asked that all donations go via Farthing Funeral directors.
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