Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
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November 17, 2014 12:45 PM

Parents who lost their son to cancer are finding comfort in letters written to him by Princess Kate.

Kate, 32, met little Fabian Bate three years ago and wrote him a letter following a visit to his hospital.

“I was touched by your strength of character and delighted to hear the news that one of your big sisters will be able to donate bone marrow to you later this year,” Kate wrote in the letter, which the family released publicly. “I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.”

Her letter, on personalized notepaper from St. James’s Palace, also praised his blog and was one of a few notes sent by Kate and Prince William over the years.

Support from Kate and William became an ongoing inspiration to Fabian and his parents as he fought leukemia. He died earlier this month, at age 12, and his parents Darrell and Lydia left one of the letters, along with some toys, with him as his body lies in hospice until his funeral service.

“It has stayed with him, and it’s staying with him now he’s departed. It is the only one in the world, it has that uniqueness – it is very personal and special.” Fabian’s father Darrell, 52, told the Daily Mirror.

Fabian and his family discovered he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2006. Five years later, he met Kate when she and William, 32, visited the Royal Marsden Hospital in Surrey, southwest of London.

The royals have passed along their condolences to the family. Kate and William “are sad to hear the news and their thoughts are with Fabian’s family,” a spokesman told PEOPLE. Fabian’s family has planned a service for him for Nov. 24.

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