Belfast Telegraph

Tragic 9-year-old Rebekah Bunting inspires £16,000 charity fundraising after cancer battle

By Victoria O'Hara

An "amazing little girl" whose life was cut short by a rare form of brain cancer has inspired hundreds of people to raise £16,000 for charity within months of her death.

Little Rebekah Bunting – known as 'Beckles' – died aged just nine last August after fighting a condition called DIPG – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

One month following her death, her family started to fundraise in her memory – and they have been overwhelmed by the response.

A Just Giving page and Facebook site were set up to raise awareness of the condition.

Her parents Louise and Mervyn Bunting – along with brothers Craig (25), Tristan (13) and sister Demi (18) – also aimed to raise £10,000 for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.

The money will help to replace a damaged play park at the hospice where little Rebekah spent her final hours along with her family.

Within 24 hours of setting up the Facebook site, it received almost 2,000 likes.

And donations flooded in via the Just Giving site. Coffee mornings, charity football matches, sky-dives, running marathons and charity nights were also organised to boost the funds.

Eight months later, the little girl's family have not just hit their target, but they passed it by more than £6,000. Her brother Craig said the family were overwhelmed.

Speaking from Perth, Australia, he said the public response had been amazing.

"Our total funds raised is sitting at around £16,000," he said.

He added: "This is taking into consideration as well that we did no fundraising over the Christmas period and had a break of a couple of months quite recently.

"I believe it's an incredible amount for an incredible cause, in memory of an amazing little girl who touched the life of everyone she met."

Rebekah became ill last March but was not diagnosed with DIPG until the end of June.

Sadly the cancer had progressed quickly and she passed away just weeks later in August.

DIPG is an extremely rare tumour located in the middle of the brain stem which cannot be operated on because of its location in the area where all of the "wires" converge from the brain to the spinal cord, eyes, face and throat muscle control and sensation.

Craig added: "The hospice is such a wonderful place.

"So to think that there will be children who can get joy from the play park would have made Rebekah so proud.

"She was just such a happy, kind little girl."

If you would like to donate visit www.justgiving.com/ RebekahBunting

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