Real Life

Stephanie’s final gift

Stephanie Allen’s mum Michelle remembers her brave daughter

Courageous teen Stephanie Allen couldn’t hold on for her 16th birthday but managed to battle on for just long enough to give her mum Michelle a Mother’s Day present. Stephanie’s moving story touched the hearts of New Zealand Woman’s Weekly readers when she celebrated her sweet 16 birthday party early after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Looking every bit the Hollywood screen goddess in a glamorous gown at her oscar-themed party, Stephanie celebrated with family and friends. As she danced to her favourite music and blew out the candles on her birthday cake with a huge grin on her face, the teenager was coping with a brain tumour she knew she would never survive.

Stephanie died at her Christchurch home with her loved ones around her, knowing that her dream of a 16th birthday party had come true. But before she passed away, Stephanie planned her own funeral service and made sure her mum Michelle (41) got her Mother’s Day present: a beautiful glass plaque engraved with the words, “oummy, you’re the greatest.”

More than 1000 people turned up at Stephanie’s funeral to say their final farewells to a young woman who’d had everything to live for. As a last tribute to her daughter, Michelle has written a letter in her memory.

“To my dearest Stephanie, In the past five months you displayed so much strength and courage. I’m so proud of you. You are an amazing girl who put up a big fight. You had so much love for everyone around you, especially your family, and we felt it very strongly.

“You have taught me to cherish every moment I have with your brother and sister and to live my life to the fullest. Not a moment will go by when I won’t be thinking of you, my sweet baby girl. I will miss you dearly, but I know you are looking down on us.

Love you always, oum.”

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