This smiling beautiful Bradford teenager died last month with a rare form of cancer.
She was Minha Ahmed, and was diagnosed with cancer after a mysterious lump developed in her leg some two years ago.
But being the ever-optimistic young woman she was, she faced her 734-day battle with the disease with “optimism, fearlessness and most importantly, always smiling”.
Now her first cousin Faiq Aziz akin to a brother to her, says she was nothing less than a sister to him. He’s determined not to let Minha’s battle with cancer to go unrecognised.
Minha died on 16th April, just weeks after celebrating her 18th birthday in quarantine. Just two years earlier she lost her her younger sister Emaan, who died at just 13 years old.
Despite all the challenges she and her family endured, Minha never lost sight of the end goal of going to university, and wanted to study Radiography at the University of Leeds.
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.
Faiq, a sixth form student at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS) says: “As a proud brother of Minha’s, I didn’t want her battle with cancer to go unrecognised, and to honour this, we decided to challenge our ourselves.
“Minha had a 734 day battle with cancer, and therefore I originally planned to honour her life by running 734km in one month with the help of five of my good friends and family.
“However when Minha’s story was shared, I was overwhelmed with support and so many people wanted to contribute to honour her – so we thought to challenge ourselves even further.
“I am now proud, and nervous, to say 30 of my close friends and family have enlisted to beat our original figure by five times and are now completing a 3670km run between us all during he month of Ramadan. This will mean running on average 5km a day for 30 days!”
Faiq, who has been accepted to read Medicine at Liverpool University, says the charity of choice is the Macmillan Cancer Trust, who went above and beyond to provide 24-hour support to both Minha and her family.
“Macmillan’s assistance and care really helped ease the pain of this battle Minha was going through,” adds Faiq.
“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.
“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.
”Her attitude during these tough times was nothing short of an inspiration,” reflects her cousin.
“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 GCSE’s.
“She remained quick witted with us all and still engaged in her hobbies of reading, fan-girling over K-pop and drawing anime.”
“As Minha’s close family and friends, we kindly ask you to donate our fundraising page. A penny, a pound or whatever you feel comfortable with – it will be greatly appreciated by all of us participating, as well as Minha’s family.
“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.”
If you would like to support Faiq’s fundraising, please visit: https://justgiving.com/fundraising/runforMinnie