PIPPA Rea’s life will be celebrated as she chose to live it — with positivity and grace.
The 11-year-old Warrnambool girl lost her battle with cancer on Saturday.
This Thursday the community will have its chance to farewell the brave little girl who never lost her spark.
Mum Virginia said a celebration of Pippa’s life would be held at Warrnambool’s botanic gardens starting at 4pm.
“From the pure number of people who have been so generous in their support and kindness towards us, and in addition, the number of people who follow our blog, we are expecting many people to attend the funeral,” she said. “Therefore we are planning a celebration of Pippa’s life that will be family-friendly in the gardens.”
Since the St Joseph’s Primary School pupil was diagnosed with a brain tumour more than 20 months ago, the south-west has thrown its support behind Pippa and her family, raising thousands of dollars to help her realise her dreams.
“I am so very grateful to everyone who contributed to fund-raising for us last year as that enabled James, Patrick (her brothers) and me to take Pippa to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. It was her dream come true,” Ms Rea said.
She said Thursday’s celebration of Pippa’s life would give the wider community a chance to say goodbye.
“Of course it will be incredibly sad, but I hope that it will also be beautiful,” Ms Rea said.
St Joseph’s Primary School principal Michael Gray said the school community had rallied together at the news of Pippa’s passing.
“People have been very supportive of each other, concerned for the family and happy to help in any way,” he said.
A memorial has been set up in the school office foyer for people to pay their respects.
“It gives people an opportunity to express how they are feeling,” Mr Gray said.
He said Pippa would be remembered as a positive and independent child who was determined to enjoy each day.
“Her spirit of hope and adventure was inspiring for everyone and the way that students supported her has been amazing,” he said.
“She was an excellent student, she was very academically and very good at sports, she loved being involved.
“She had a good spirit and never got angry about things. She was incredible really.”
It was this spirit and determination that drove Pippa to take part in her school sports this month, participating in as much as she was able with help from brothers James and Patrick.
She was also on hand when members of her beloved Geelong Cats visited her school.
Ms Rea has chronicled her daughter’s battle in a well-read blog.
Since Pippa’s passing, the blog has had more than 30,000 views from within Australia and around the world and been inundated with people leaving messages of condolence and support.
She wrote that her daughter remained happy and busy in her final days.
Pippa enjoyed visits from loved ones, watched television with her family and listened to chapter after chapter of her favourite book, The Magic Faraway Tree.
“Pippa is now climbing the Faraway Tree exploring magical lands,” Ms Rea wrote in the blog.
“We have been able to say goodbye beautifully. That beauty and spirit of hers will live on forever.”
- In lieu of flowers for the family, envelopes will be provided on Thursday if people wish to make a donation to the Pippa Rea Fund. Money will be distributed to Pippa’s chosen charities.