An Auckland teenager who dedicated her life to helping others has died after a long battle with cancer.

Amber-Lee Lawrie, 17, the deputy head girl of Waiuku College in South Auckland, died at home on Friday.

Amber-Lee helped raise $11,000 for the children's charity CanTeen, and raised awareness of those living with disabilities by organising a weekly wheelchair basketball event with the Auckland Wheelbreakers and Halberg New Zealand.

The ambitious teen, who wanted to study medicine, asked that her body be donated to Auckland University's medical school.


Waiuku College paid tribute to Lawrie on social media.

"It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Amber Lawrie our Deputy Head Girl after a long illness. Our thoughts are with her family and many friends."

Principal Tom Vanderlaan said the year 13 student left school in term two of this year to undergo intensive treatment after discovering her cancer had returned for the second time.

"So we had seen it coming for quite some time.

"There is a lot of sadness but also joy celebrating what a neat person she was."

Vanderlaan said Lawrie, who had been at the school since year 9, was involved in leadership and had won many awards for being a highly academic student.

The school marae was open yesterday as a "place of memory and support" and
Amber-Lee's parents paid a visit yesterday, Vanderlaan said.

In a post on Kiwiblog, Letters to Corey, head blogger Grace dedicated a heartfelt message to Amber-Lee, whom she met in rehabilitation.

"She fought harder than anyone I have ever known.

"She was incredibly intelligent, charismatic and powerful in her ability to compel others to action through her own."

Grace said Amber-Lee wanted to donate her body "because in her words this way, she could be a part of medical school, minus the student loan."

Vanderlaan said Amber-Lee planned the details of her memorial service this Thursday with family and friends.

"She was very open and brave about dying.

"She wanted everyone to dress in bright colours."

Waiuku College will hold a mufti day on Thursday to honour this wish and will close in the afternoon so staff and students can attend the memorial service.

The memorial service will be held at the Aka Aka School hall in Waiuku at 1.30pm on Thursday.