'Fly high beautiful': Brave Tayla loses her fight
THOSE who knew 17-year-old Tayla Saunders were met with a kind-hearted, beautiful soul, and those who didn't, were still touched by her bravery.
Tributes have flown for the Gympie girl known for her infectious smile, who on Sunday lost her 10 year battle with a cancer so rare she was the only child in Australia who had it.
At the age of seven, Tayla was diagnosed with atypical vascular lesion soft tissue sarcoma, and what followed was a rollercoaster decade for Tayla and her family as the young patient underwent radiation, chemotherapy and steroid treatment.
The Gympie community wrapped their arms around the young fighter, with a number of groups raising thousands to help with the young footy fan's treatment.
But last year her family had to come to terms with knowing the young woman would "never be cured."
- DEC 2013: Nestle crew digs deep to help Tayla
- DEC 2013: Event for Tayla Saunders touches hearts
- FEB 2015: Teenager has fought rare cancer for half her life
- AUG 2015: Gympie raises $26k for 14-year-old cancer battler
- NOV 2017: Decade of pain: 'I'll fight to keep my little girl alive'
Tayla's older sister Sami Rodgers, who has set up a GoFundMe page, said the loss is unbearable.
"Yesterday morning I held your hand as you took your last breath, I honestly couldn't believe you were gone," Sami wrote.
"As the hours go by my heart sinks further."
But she said despite her last moments her memory of her little sister does not lie in the hospital.
"I found photos like when we were little of me stealing your hotdog at Aussie World, when we went swimming in our clothes at the river because it was too hot and we forgot our togs, your smile when I got my car and we drove around in it for the first time.
"I promise to finish your bucket list for you baby girl. I know you'll tell me when to do things because you'll want to be there."
"An eternal memory, until we meet again."
Close family friend Mimi Rogers said the girl she had known since she was five years old was always smiling no matter what she was going through.
"Tayla was the most beautiful, kind-hearted girl I have ever met and made everyone around her a better person," Ms Rogers said.
"She was such a strong loving girl and will be so greatly missed."
To donate to the Tayla Saunders Funeral Fund please click here.