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Family pays tribute to Luna Petagine
1:10pm Friday 10th August 2012 in News
Little Luna Petagine, who courageously fought cancer over the past four years, has passed away.
The five-year-old, of Raglan Gardens in Oxhey, died at home in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with her parents Mario and Lucy by her side.
After being diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour four years ago, she bravely battled against her illness, undergoing various bouts of treatment and therapy.
Mrs Petagine said: "She’d gotten really tired over the last few weeks, and her condition had deteriorated.
"When we took her back to Great Ormond Street Hospital recently, a CT scan gave the devastating news that the tumour had grown, and that it appeared inoperable and beyond treatment.
"We did everything we could, every treatment possible, we fought so hard to save her.
"We’re heartbroken, she was wonderful."
Luna first came to notice after her family, desperate to save their daughter, appealed to Watford Observer readers for donations to help fund potentially life-saving treatment at The Burzynski Clinic in Houston, Texas.
Communities far and wide responded to their pleas, raising thousands of pounds to help save Luna’s life.
Watford pool team the Railway Rebels gathered together to hold a 24-hour pool-a-thon and raised £1,300, while Zumba instructor Nikki Clarke from Bushey got ladies limbered up for a charity class, collecting more than £200.
York Meade Primary School in Croxley Green showed their support by making snowflakes, while students from Bromet Primary School in Oxhey Road ditched their uniforms for a charity non-uniform day.
A music festival fundraiser was held in Hunton Bridge, raising £1,000 and West Watford Golf Society swung into action at a charity golf day, raising £5,000.
There were cake sales and raffles and even a cupcake challenge courtesy of Cinnamon Square.
St Helen’s School student Lucy Lipfriend swam 50 lengths, raising more than £4,000, while Watford resident Lores Bruston dedicated her 60th birthday to collecting £565 for Luna.
A charity golf day held in Wentworth raised a whopping £44,387, and a ball held in Luna’s honour collected £30,000.
Meanwhile, the Watford Observer’s news desk was flooded with letters and donations from readers, and celebrities including Nick Knowles, Kym Marsh from Coronation Street, footballer Steffen Iversen and his wife Anna and Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding backed Luna’s campaign for treatment.
Thanks to everyone’s efforts, more than £100,000 was raised in just eight weeks, enabling Luna and her family to travel to America in September 2011 so that she could undergo treatment at Burzynski.
A month into her therapy, an MRI revealed the tumour had grown, pressing on Luna’s brain stem and causing her breathing problems and facial palsy.
Luna was admitted to intensive care in Texas Children’s Hospital and her parents made the decision to take her home, to continue treatment under a local consultant.
Following news of her death, fundraisers, friends and celebrities have paid tributes to Luna.
Nick Knowles, along with the DIY SOS team, visited Luna’s family in 2010, to renovate their home.
He said: "We are all deeply saddened by the news about little Luna.
"They are such a wonderful family with great strength and close family ties which they will need over the coming months.
"My friends on DIY SOS and I send our deepest sympathy to the family and ask people to support the charities that support the research into curing this cruel illness."
Barbara Bennett, who organised the music festival in Hunton Bridge, said: "We’re deeply saddened to hear of Luna’s passing, she was a little sweetie, we send our deepest sympathies to her family."
There has been an outpouring of grief on social media site Facebook, with more than 300 people writing on a page dedicated to her appeal.
Luna will be cremated at West Herts Crematorium , High Elms, Lane, Garston, on Thursday, August 16 at 4pm.
Attendees are asked to wear pink, and flowers are from family only. Donations can be made to the Luna Community Appeal Fund.
Her wake will follow at Aldenham Golf Club, but this is for family only.