Olivia Lambert captured Canberrans' hearts with her determination and courage during a long battle with an aggressive childhood cancer.
But last night, surrounded by her father James and mum Kirsty, the eight-year-old lost her fight with neuroblastoma.
Olivia was diagnosed with stage four of the deadly disease six years ago. Her eighth birthday in January was a milestone doctors said she would never reach.
And when Australian doctors gave up on the little girl in 2010, Canberrans donated more than $300,000 to give Olivia a chance with new treatments in Germany and the United States.
Olivia's grandfather Richard Hedges said Olivia's parents were grateful for the community's support.
"We need to get it out to the Canberra community, who knew her so well, and let them know the end of this sad story," Mr Hedges said.
Last month Olivia was still skipping around the family home in Ngunnawal. She dreamed of becoming a ballerina but her dearest wish was to be cancer free.
In keeping with this wish Mr Hedges said Olivia's parents have asked that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia.
"We want people to donate to the Children's Cancer Institute of Australia to help them with their Neuroblastoma research. Really the money should go to research – at the end of the day what we really want to solve is the puzzle of neuroblastomoa," Mr Hedges said.
On the family's return to Australia from Germany in 2011 after more than six months of treatment, Mrs Lambert had said she could never thank Canberrans enough for giving them more time with their daughter.
"We don't know any other children who have survived four relapses, and neither do the doctors. They haven't met anyone like Olivia before," she said.
Her energy and positive attitude even in the face of overwhelming odds set her apart. Olivia went into remission four times and her chances of survival after her first relapse were given as 1 per cent.
While undergoing a 20-minute PET scan in February Olivia had technicians and doctors in stitches.
She did not realise a microphone was broadcasting her cheerful singing to an adjoining room and was loud enough to be heard by her parents down the hall.
When doctors told her neuroblastoma cells had been found in two spots on her skull and in her right hip. Her response: "Well at least it hasn't hurt my singing voice."
"Her determination and courage was amazing... It's just so hard," Mr Hedges said.
A memorial service for Olivia will be held at 11am next Tuesday at St John’s Church, Reid. It will be followed by a private burial at Gungahlin cemetery.
Purple was her favourite colour and it will be an important part of the farewell.
"She's got a beautiful purple gloss painted casket ready to go."
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