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Woman whose courage was an inspiration dies aged 38
7:00am Thursday 4th November 2010
# By Jill Harding »
A WOMAN whose courage and fortitude was an inspiration to all who knew her has died at the age of 38.
Rachel Coxon was an active 13-year-old looking forward to a bright future when she was bitten by a tick during a family day out in the New Forest.
The seemingly minor incident led to her contracting Lyme disease and she was left paralysed from the chest down.
Despite the adversity she faced, her father John said she showed amazing strength of character.
?She was such a positive person,? he said.
?Rachel suffered more than any person should ever have to, but her inner strength was incredible.
?Everyone who met her was impressed by how she faced adversity.
?Her smile lit up the room and she had a wonderful, warm, loving personality.?
Earlier this year Rachel was diagnosed with cancer and she died last Monday.
?She showed the same bravery right up to the end,? said her father.
Rachel was born in South Shields and moved to Salisbury when she was five.
She went to Woodlands first and Avon middle schools and had just started at the former Westwood St Thomas school when she was bitten by the insect.
?Rachel had so much to live for ? she was academically brilliant, she could swim like a fish, was the star of the school netball team and a promising clarinet player and it was all taken away,? said Mr Coxon.
?The paralysis came and went between the ages of 13 and 16 and then crept up her body.
?But she didn?t let it stop her. She camped at Glastonbury Festival, went on holiday to America and Spain and anyone who walks along the river from Butts Road where she lived into town will know how much she loved going out into Salisbury.?
In 2003 the Journal supported a campaign to buy Rachel a wheelchair she could control with her chin to allow her to move independently.
Generous readers helped to raise £6,000 and Rachel was presented with her chair, which will now be donated to Salisbury District Hospital?s spinal unit.
Rachel was a member of St Paul?s Church and the Kings Church in Salisbury and had many friends in the city.
?She should have been a wife and mother ? she adorned kids and was like a surrogate mother to many of her friends? children,? said Mr Coxon.
?Everyone who knew Rachel said they were privileged to have met her.
?Her character made people admire her and she truly was an inspiration.?
A service of celebration will be held for Rachel at St Paul?s Church in Salisbury on Monday (November 8) at 1.30pm