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'Inspirational, beautiful' Ipswich teen who died from cancer inspires hospital's new music therapy sessions

PUBLISHED: 17:20 30 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:20 30 January 2020

Jess Grant with her beloved cockapoo Maisy, pictured in July 2017. Picture: ANITA GRANT

Jess Grant with her beloved cockapoo Maisy, pictured in July 2017. Picture: ANITA GRANT

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She used music to get her through the very toughest of times - and although she is no longer with us, Jess Grant's spirit very much lives on in new music therapy sessions inspired by her remarkable journey.

Charlie enjoying new music therapy sessions at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUSTCharlie enjoying new music therapy sessions at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

The "inspirational, brave, positive, beautiful" 15-year-old from Kesgrave faced some of the darkest moments imaginable in a three-year battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

But the thing that kept her smiling more than anything was her intense passion for music, with the keen drummer and guitarist finding that the likes of Queen and David Bowie helped distract her from her illness and take her to another world.

MORE: Our 'inspirational, beautiful' daughter died from cancer - but Queen and David Bowie helped her cope

Since Jess' death on January 26 2018, her family have thrown their lives into raising money for music provision at hospitals - to give other poorly children like Jess the joys of music to help them cope.

Music lover Jess Grant, pictured here in 2005, died from osteoscarcoma in 2018. Picture: ANITA GRANTMusic lover Jess Grant, pictured here in 2005, died from osteoscarcoma in 2018. Picture: ANITA GRANT

And now the amazing efforts of the Jess Grant Celebration charity, set up by her parents in her memory, have borne fruit - with new music therapy sessions launched at Ipswich Hospital this month.

It means the hospital, run by East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, is just one of 12 hospitals in the UK providing music therapy.

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Anita Grant, Jess' mum and co-founder of the charity, said: "Jess' passion was music - both listening to and playing her beloved electric guitar, and more recently her drums.

Charlie enjoying new music therapy sessions at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUSTCharlie enjoying new music therapy sessions at Ipswich Hospital. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

"In Jess' memory we are now raising money for other children suffering from medical conditions so that we can fund the provision of music therapy."

The initiative will give children who are receiving care the chance to spend one day a week making music under the guidance of hospital staff and a therapist from Suffolk Music Therapy Services.

The aim is to boost their confidence and self-esteem, while providing an outlet to help them express their feelings during their treatment.

Siobhan Castle, health play specialist lead at Ipswich Hospital, said: "This is really exciting news and a service which will benefit many children who receive care at Ipswich Hospital.

Jess Grant in 2017, shortly before her tragic death from osteoscarcoma. Picture: ANITA GRANTJess Grant in 2017, shortly before her tragic death from osteoscarcoma. Picture: ANITA GRANT

"We have wanted music therapy on the ward for many years. We would like to pass our sincere thanks to Jess' family and everyone at the Jess Grant Celebration for supporting this valuable initiative."

Ray Travasso, director of Suffolk Music Therapy Services, said: "We are so pleased to be able to provide music therapy for children at Ipswich Hospital.

"We know that music therapy can be a brilliant intervention for children who are in hospital for many reasons.

"We have some exciting and innovative plans for developing the service and can't wait to get started in January 2020."

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