She had a motto: stay happy and live long. It was a phrase 12-year-old Natasha Gould could only imagine living by.
Natasha had a rare form of brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG. The young girl had an incurable brain tumour. She lost her battle with cancer on Aug. 4, 2016 – just 15 months after her diagnosis.
But through her journey, she became an advocate. Determined to raise awareness about the kids with cancer and the lack of funding for it, Natasha turned to social media. She wrote blogs and had a YouTube channel posting all kinds of candid moments and expressing raw emotion about her diagnosis. She also made several speaking appearances.
Her parents, Bill and Saskia Gould, marvelled at their daughter’s bravery.
Bill remembers watching her thrive despite her prognosis.
“Shockingly in awe, like flabbergasted,” Bill said. “We were dealt quite an enormous powerful circumstance and in that was an opportunity to see how Natasha rose to that.”
Saskia Gould promises to continue what her daughter started.
“She may not have a life going forward but she certainly has a legacy that lives on,” she said.
They want their daughter’s story to inspire others to help fight for a cure for kids cancer.
Bill said nobody talks about uncomfortable parts of cancer.
“A lot of the stories of kids with cancers, people say, ‘Oh she’s bald but cute’ or, ‘She’s so articulate and brave,'” Bill said. “The story talks about how wonderful… but there’s the other side I don’t think is being spoken. It’s awful. It’s really awful. These kids are really sick and they die.”
They were beyond proud but that’s part of what makes her loss so tough. They can only imagine what she would have accomplished throughout her life.
“It just hits you and is brutal,” Saskia said through tears. “But there’s other times we envision her in heaven and hope we see her again.”
“She’s free – not trapped in her body – and she’s singing and dancing again.”
Natasha’s celebration of life will be held Friday, Aug. 26, 2015 at the First Alliance Church.
© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.