'It gets harder every day': Family of Josie King plan memorials for anniversary of Sunderland teenager's death
The loved ones of a Sunderland teenager whose life was cut short by bone cancer will this weekend mark two years since her death.
Sandhill View student Josie King was 15 when she died due to Ewing sarcoma, which had developed in one of her thighs.
The keen amateur boxer and animal lover became a mentor to other children being treated for the disease and wrote blog posts to give her insight into her own experiences.
She never got the chance to meet her niece, named Josie Rae in her memory. Her sister Jessica, 23, will take the 10-month-old down to Roker this Sunday, July 12, to release two J-shaped balloons.
The spot holds good memories for the family, including Josie’s brother Jack, 16, and parents Donna Doneathy, 44, and John King, 53.
Jessica said “The reason for the balloons is because Josie never got to meet her niece and it symbolises them together.
"The beach is where myself, my mam and Jack and Josie went when we were waiting on the results to hear if Josie had cancer.
"It brings back good memories of her and Jack playing with no worries in the world. It was them against the world. They were like twins.
“She would have been the greatest big auntie a girl could ever wish for.”
Early on Sunday evening, Josie’s friends Callum Nichols and Trinity Goodwin have organised for her mates to release balloons at Penshaw Monument, one of Josie's favourite places, then all plan to light a candle at 7pm.
Jess, who has held balloon releases in her sister’s memory before, added: “We never ever want her to be forgotten. It sure is getting harder each and every day.
“I can’t even begin to imagine what I would do to bring her back, she is missed so much.
"It could be two years, it could be 20 years, she will forever be always on my mind, each and every single day.
"She was the funniest, beautiful, craziest little sister I could have ever wished for.
"It’s heartbreaking because I wish she experienced going nightclubbing, learning to drive a car, going on holiday, having her own children one day.”