In loving memory of Leila & Alex
Growing up, we always celebrated Red Nose Day, to remember my brother Alex.
I have fond memories of eagerly waiting each year with excitement to see which plush toy would be released to honour this special day, my family collected them all.
My parents turned to Red Nose when my brother died.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be in a similar position.
Now, as an adult and a bereaved parent to Leila, Red Nose Day means so much more to our family.
Leila was born on 2 February 2021 at 25 weeks and three days. She passed on 14 February from extreme prematurity.
In the short time, she was with us, Leila made certain we knew what she liked and disliked. She loved snuggling in for cuddles, wrapping her fingers around our hands and listening to her daddy Jake read stories. She hated having her face mask changed and always protested when she came out of her warm incubator until she was safely in our arms.
Leaving the hospital after losing Leila, I felt lost. Realising I needed support I picked up the phone and called Red Nose. I joined the pilot of the Hospital to Home program – and I am so glad that I made the decision to reach out for help.
The Hospital to Home program supported me when I returned to work as a teacher. Red Nose advocated for me when I was lost for words, but also validated my requests and guided my transition back into the workplace.
Red Nose has always welcomed me to share memories of Leila and created a space where I could honour her and express my thoughts and feelings openly.
They helped me to realise that she will always be my daughter and a part of our family.
My family will be remembering my beautiful Leila and my brother Alex like we do every Red Nose Day, but I hope you will join me and get involved to help fund research and keep Red Nose’s vital 24/7 support services free and available for other families in need.
With my son Lachlan in my arms and my daughter Leila in my heart, I’m still learning what life looks like, but I take comfort in knowing I can honour the memory of my daughter this Red Nose Day.
While it is my goal to spread awareness every day with my car permanently rocking its red nose, on Red Nose Day, I will wear my silly socks with pride and continue to share the stories of all the treasured babies taken too soon.
The Hospital to Home team at Red Nose has given me so much strength to tell my son all about his big sister and tell anyone that will listen about my treasured daughter Leila and her sassy attitude and courageous nature.