Oxford

Rebecca Henderson: Rucksack heart woman's ashes scattered at Oxford

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Media caption'I carry my heart in a rucksack'

Some of the ashes of an Oxford University student who died from transplant complications were scattered during a ceremony at her college.

St Anne's College planted a rose bush in memory of Rebecca Henderson, 24, from Bicester, Oxfordshire, who died in February.

The student had to carry an artificial heart in a rucksack after her own was removed due to cancer in 2017.

Her family also received her master's degree, awarded posthumously.

In a statement, St Anne's College said: "Rebecca Henderson was and always will be the very best of what it means to be a member of St Anne's.

"Today was a very special occasion for Becca's family, her friends and tutors, and the wider community of St Anne's College."

Image copyright St Anne's College
Image caption Parents Linda and Mike Henderson and Rebecca’s sister Rachel with her degree certificate

The college said some of the student's ashes were scattered in the college after the degree ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre.

It said the posthumous degree reflected the "tremendous courage and determination" showed by Ms Henderson in the face of her ill health.

"Even in hospital she insisted on continuing her studies, including writing her first two academic papers, both of which she was subsequently asked to publish," they added.

"We are proud that Becca will always be a part of St Anne's and we remember the inspiring and positive example Becca showed us in treasuring the opportunities around her."

Image caption Rebecca relied on this artificial heart to pump blood around her body

After Ms Henderson had her heart removed, she returned to study at St Anne's College and brought the 7kg (1.1 stone) artificial heart with her.

She was one of only two people in the UK with an artificial heart.

At the time she said: "At no point did it ever occur to me to give up."

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