Family and friends climb O2 arena in memory of Hackney teenager who died from brain tumour

Rebekah Wicks, centre, and friends are climbing the O2 arena to raise money for Teen Cancer trust in

Rebekah Wicks, centre, and friends are climbing the O2 arena to raise money for Teen Cancer trust in memory of her daughter Olivia rae Wicks. - Credit: Archant

»Friends and family inspired by the courage of a teenager who died of a brain tumour scaled the O2 arena in Greenwich last Thursday in her memory.

Olivia Wicks

Olivia Wicks - Credit: Archant

Olivia Wickes, of Walsham Close, Stamford Hill, died aged 14 at the end of June having developed a brain tumour last year.

As reported in the Gazette at the time, Olivia first fell ill in July last year while staying with her aunt in Bournemouth and woke up screaming in pain. Doctors at the A&E department at the town’s hospital prescribed her painkillers.


She wasn’t diagnosed until September when she collapsed on her first day at school. She then lost the ability to walk, speak, see clearly or eat without a tube.

She had started to get better but then the cancer became more aggressive and she died on June 26.

Close friend Jenessa Prentice, 14, who grew up with Olivia, organised last week’s climb to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was inspired by the bravery her friend showed throughout her illness.

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Olivia’s mother, Rebekah Wickes, 35, said: “It’s been a hard several weeks for the whole family. It’s been a difficult grieving process. We are still going through it. It is part of our grieving process to do this for her.

“My son who’s 11 is petrified of heights but wanted to do it for his sister. She was like another mum to her younger brothers. They looked up to her.”

Ms Wickes paid tribute to her daughter, saying: “She was a really brave, feisty little girl. She was amazing throughout the whole process. She never once complained about anything and got on with it. She lived each day to the full.

“Being in a wheelchair did not stop her from getting her hair and nails done. She was doing everything a normal teenager would. It made us really proud of her. She never let it get her down.

“She went back to school and got an A in health and social care. She was going on do to GCSEs. She was a bright girl.

“It inspired me and a lot of her friends as well. They saw what courage and strength she had.”

The Royal Bournemouth Hospital, where Olivia was first treated, has since admitted failures in her care.

Director of nursing at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Paula Shobbrook, said: “We acknowledge that the care Olivia received was not to the standard it should have been.

“We have since increased the number of senior medical staff overnight within our emergency department and continue to liaise with Olivia’s family.

“We are very sorry to hear that Olivia has passed away and our deepest sympathies go to her family. ”

Ms Wickes said she “felt relieved” but she still had many unanswered questions about her daughter’s diagnosis.

Olivia’s mother, her brothers Kaarlo Wickes, 12, and Kian Chettry, 11, Jenessa, Jenessa’s mother Julie Prentice, family friend Cat Quinn, friend Kyra Griffin, 14, and Olivia’s teacher Clare Dejode all took part in the climb.