Cancer teen Jemima Gazley raises $500,000 for cancer research, Taika Waititi joins the cause

A selfless Wellington teenager who has raised nearly half a million dollars for brain cancer research slipped away “beautifully and calmly” last night, says her father.

15-year-old Jemima Gazley was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in February, and spent her last ten days alive fundraising for a cure she would not see.

After capturing the hearts of more than 5000 donors the teenager passed away around 7pm on Tuesday night.

Her father Oliver Gazley described her last moments to Nick Mills on Newstalk ZB Wellington Mornings this morning.

“One of her last words were that her mother was her best friend and that I was her hero, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that,” he said.

“Her soul’s free and we know one day we’ll see her again.

“We all believe there’s another place we all go to, and we know she’s there now and we know we’ll see her again.

“She’s free of this disease and she’s walking and she’s happy.”

Earlier this month Jemima decided to create a Givealittle page to fundraise for research for DIPG, a particularly deadly childhood brain cancer with an average survival of just nine months post-diagnosis.

The funds are to go to a Australian researcher Dr Matt Dun, who lost his own daughter to DIPG in 2018 and is working for better treatment options and a cure.

Jemima also wanted to donate her brain to cancer research.

As at midday on Wednesday the funds totalled $490,920, with $100,000 donated in the past 24 hours alone.

On Wednesday New zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi also tweeted Jemima’s Givealittle page to his 1.4 million followers.

The family went public with Jemima’s death through her Givealittle page on Tuesday night, saying their daughter was “dancing through the heavens, laughing and full of joy in her return to pure energy”.

Oliver Gazley said Jemima’s legacy had given the family ” a huge warm glow” and it had been cathartic to share her journey with the public.

“She’s gone beyond what anyone would have imagined she could, to leave her body and soul to live on forever now with what she’s created.

“It’s completely sad, we’re totally heartbroken, we’re breaking down momentarily all the time but also we’re smiling often.

“And in some weird way it’s making things so much easier for us right now to grieve and process it, because we are so, so proud of our daughter, and just so blessed with the amazing woman she was.”

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