IN 2007, the death of 17-year-old Zoe Cook left her family devastated.
The teenager had been diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of muscle cancer, two years earlier and had bravely endured the illness, overcoming the disease once, before it returned.
She passed away on November 28, 2007.
During her illness, the youngster went blind, prompting her family to mark her birthdays with fireworks.
“The cancer was terminal, it was in her face and they couldn’t operate,” said her dad, Alan.
“She went blind, but we had her at home when she died, which is where she wanted to be.”
While Zoe was losing her vision, the family started setting off fireworks in their garden for her birthday – which is today, November 21.
They’ve continued the tradition every year since, something which has been incredibly meaningful to the family.
This week, they are planning to raise money for charity in Zoe’s memory, with a display at Steeple Langford Cricket Club on Saturday (November 25).
Entry is free, with donations going to the Piam Brown Ward, the Wessex children’s cancer unit at Southampton General Hospital, where Zoe was treated.
“It helps us celebrate her life,” 55-year-old Alan said.
“It was my 40th birthday on December 5, 2007 – the next day we buried our daughter.
“I don’t celebrate birthdays as much as I should anymore.”
When the Cooks moved to Steeple Langford, there wasn’t enough room in their garden for the fireworks, but the cricket club kindly offered to host them at no charge.
The event, which gets underway at 4pm, will feature a fundraising raffle and stalls, with the bonfire lit at 6.15pm and fireworks at 7pm.
To make a donation in Zoe’s memory, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/rosie-cook-1695839386961?utm_medium=qrcode&utm_source=offline.