Grace shaves off her locks after mum, uncle die from cancer
THEY say a photo can hold a thousand memories.
And that's been the case for Bundaberg's Grace Dempsey who lost her mother, Debbie, to brain cancer when she was just four years old.
Debbie had glioblastoma, the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain. She died at the age of 44.
Unfortunately it wasn't the only time the disease took a loved one from the Dempsey family, Grace's uncle Patrick also died from the aggressive cancer when Grace was 13 years old.
Grace said she felt the loss of her mother most she reached life's milestones and didn't have her by her side.
"Going to school for the first time was hard," Grace said.
"People often assume you have a mum and I'd have to tell them I didn't have one as she died when I was little.
"I don't have many memories of her, but the photos remind me."
Grace said her father Michael Dempsey and brothers Kurt, 25, and Dan, 23, often said she resembled her mum.
"Growing up in a house full of boys was hard and I wished mum was there," the 17-year-old said.
"It was probably harder on my dad than anyone else - he lost his wife and his brother.
"The cancer is not hereditary and came out of the blue for both my mum and uncle."
Another milestone happened last month as Grace completed high school at Shalom College.
"Now my schooling is over I am determined to raise money and awareness about brain cancer and will shave off my hair in my mum's honour," she said. Tomorrow Grace will shave her head to raise money for the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
What is glioblastoma
Glioblastoma affects three in every 100,000 people per year.
Once diagnosed there is a life expectancy of 14 months with treatment.
The most common length of survival following diagnosis is 12 to 15 months, with fewer than 3 per cent to 5 per cent of people surviving longer than five years.
It is the most common cancer that begins within the brain and the second most common brain tumour, after meningioma.
There is no clear way to prevent the disease.