Inspirational Sunderland schoolgirl Josie loses cancer fight aged 15

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A teenage boxer who helped children suffering from cancer has lost her own battle against the disease.

Josie King, from Thorney Close, was first diagnosed with bone cancer Ewing’s sarcoma in August 2016 after the Sandhill View student discovered a lump on her hip.

Josie King first trained at the gym at Lambton Street.

Josie King first trained at the gym at Lambton Street.

The 15-year-old’s family say she was told she was in remission in May last year following surgery and gruelling chemotherapy, but confided to her loved ones she still felt ill before tests later confirmed her fears.

She spent the last six weeks being cared for by mum Donna Doneathy, 42, dad John King, 51, sister Jess, 21, and brother Jack, 14, and died on Thursday.

Her passion for boxing began when she followed her brother into the sport, starting at the gym at Lambton Street Youth Centre on the Ford Estate before moving to Houghton Boxing Club.

She fulfilled her dream of seeing David Haye when he fought Tony Bellew at the 02 in London in May last year after Jack gifted her a ticket he had won.

She was still helping others even though she was very poorly.

Donna Doneathy

Josie also met heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua and had been supported by Sunderland Olympian fighter Josh Kelly, who gifted her a vest he wore during the 2016 Rio games.

Her fighting spirit had seen her battle hard during her own treatment and give others on the ward no-nonsense advice.

Josie was one of 11 to be presented with a Bradley Lowery Child of Courage award - named in honour of her friend - at this year’s Best of Wearside celebration run by the Echo.

She was also nominated for a Bravehearts of the North East award for her caring nature and had written blogs about her experiences.

Cancer sufferer Josie King with her sister Jessica King and mother Donna Doneathy in September 2016.

Cancer sufferer Josie King with her sister Jessica King and mother Donna Doneathy in September 2016.

Donna said: “She was still helping others even though she was very poorly.

“She went into one little boy’s room when he wouldn’t have his chemo and told him ‘If you don’t want to die, you have to fight it, not the nurses’ and Josie was so straight with people and strong, even though she was 15-year-old.

“She was funny, the most funny person I’ve ever known in my life.

“Josie loved make up and animals.

Olympic Boxer Josh Kelly hands over his Olympic vest to then 13-year-old Josie King.

Olympic Boxer Josh Kelly hands over his Olympic vest to then 13-year-old Josie King.

“But she will want to be remembered through boxing most of all.

“She loved it.”

A balloon release was held on land off North Moor Lane by her friends and family last night.

Everyone attending Josie’s funeral on Friday at 10.45am at St Mary and St Peter’s Church in Springwell Road has been asked to wear bright clothing.

It will be followed by a service at Sunderland Crematorium at 11.30am, with donations go to CLIC Sargent.

Josie King with professional boxer Anthony Joshua.

Josie King with professional boxer Anthony Joshua.

Olympic Boxer Josh Kelly Josie King when she was 13 and had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer.

Olympic Boxer Josh Kelly Josie King when she was 13 and had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer.

Josie King while she was undergoing treatment.

Josie King while she was undergoing treatment.

Child of Courage winners Best of Wearside Awards 2018 at the Stadium of Light in May, with Josie, in her wheelchair, at the front.

Child of Courage winners Best of Wearside Awards 2018 at the Stadium of Light in May, with Josie, in her wheelchair, at the front.