Girl, 12, turning tragic loss into special tribute
THE last time 12-year-old Savannah Buchan saw her classmate Bree Blucher, she was smiling and laughing at her final birthday party.
Bree was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2015 and sadly lost her battle with the disease almost exactly a year later, leaving a grieving community, family and friends after she passed.
Sunshine Acres' Savannah had known Bree for a year, shared every class and sat in the same friendship group at lunchtime.
"She was funny," Savannah said.
"She was really nice."
When Bree was diagnosed with cancer in the Easter holidays last year, Savannah said she was "a bit shocked" to hear someone her age, a classmate, had the disease.
After Bree was diagnosed, Savannah saw her twice; once when she came back to school for a visit and at her final birthday party.
Savannah said the party was her favourite memory of her friend.
"She was smiling and so happy when we did a song and dance for her," she said.
"It was pretty special."
Bree's passing was the first death Savannah has experienced since her grandfather died when she was seven.
At the girl's funeral, Savannah was part of a guard of honour and released balloons with her friend's in Bree's honour.
Savannah's mother Tina said the girl's death hit her daughter very hard.
"It was very upsetting for everyone who knew or even didn't know her (Bree)," Tina said.
"But I think Savannah took it extra hard; she would break down about her and cry a lot."
When Savannah's grief started to show during her boxing classes after school, her coach Amit Singh suggested she put together a fun run to remember her friend.
The Buchan family have spent the last three months organising a fun run, raising money for bone cancer research.
Tina said since she started organising the day, Savannah has been able to cope better with her friend's death.
"Being able to turn something so tragic into a positive has made such a difference," she said.
Savannah said it was easier to talk about her friend and celebrate her life.
"When I think about her I don't really cry any more because I can remember the fun times and not the sad ones," she said.
The Bree Blucher Memorial 5km Fun Run will be held this Saturday from 8am at Purple Park in Hervey Bay, along the Esplanade.
Cost to enter is $5, with all money going towards bone cancer research.