Rachel Higgins' courageous battle with cancer insp.
Described as being a local inspiration to those battling cancer, Rachel Anne Cecilia Higgins, a courageous and strong-willed young woman, succumbed to the rare brain tumor she fought for two years. She was less than a week shy of her 25th birthday when she passed away Sunday afternoon at the West Parry Sound Health Centre.
Rachel's battle with cancer garnered huge public support through her close-knit family, who were inspired by her unfailing strength throughout her illness.
Last summer, friends, family and supporters participated in the first annual Rallying Against Cancer Hardcore (RACH) Three-Pitch baseball tournament that, to date, has raised almost $80,000 for brain tumor research at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
During this year's tournament, in which Rachel threw the opening pitch to her father Tom, she said she was living one day at a time.
"You can't worry about things you can't control, so you might as well help out with a donation," she said.
Donate in honour
It was this kind of driven dedication and positive outlook that inspired and deeply touched so many in the community and beyond.
Rachel was a graduate of the Faculty of Optometry at Waterloo University, a long-time gymnastics coach and a sister to Adam, Aaron, Gillian and Jordan.
Canadian Blood Services will still host its ?In Honour Program' next week at its clinics on September 1 and 2.
This particular clinic was meant to celebrate Rachel's 25th birthday, with donors encouraged to donate in her honour. Donors are still welcome and encouraged to donate in memory of Rachel on these days.
"It's still, in a very poignant way, recognizing her memory," said Canadian Blood Services communications specialist Darlene Osborne. "We're grateful for the support of the Higgins family and our sympathy is with them at this time."
A Mass of Resurrection will be held at St. Peter the Apostle Church today at 1 p.m.