Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A very special post...

I've never written a post like this before so it's hard to know where to start.

Yesterday I had an email from one of my lovely customers, Lesley from Brisbane.
Lesley asked if I could make a customised version of a print I'd made for her a few months back for a little girl Kate, who is turning two next week.

I love hearing about who the recipients of my prints are and when Lesley told me that little Kate is very sick, as in VERY sick I felt so upset and I told Lesley it made me so sad because my little William is only a few months younger than little Kate.

So Lesley sent me a link to the families support page on The Developing Foundation so I could read about Kate's story and her inspirational family.

Here is an extract from the website:

Kate was born with a congential heart condition called Tretalogy of Fallow – which affects 4 areas of the heart anatomy. She also has Micro-cephaly (which means small head and brain) and Epilepsy, as well as feeding and breathing difficulties. Kate really is a miracle baby – a strong little fighter who is a beautiful little girl.

The doctors can’t find a reason why Kate has so many medical problems – it is thought that she has a syndrome so rare it can not yet be identified by genetics. Kate spent 40 weeks of the first year of her life, in hospital – and continues to have frequent admissions. Kate has undergone countless operations including Open heart Surgery (aged 9 months).

Unfortunately Kate’s heart anatomy is unable to be repaired – sadly she was deemed palliative in January 2010. The doctors are uncertain how long her heart will keep working for, at the moment it is going well - the boys understand that their sister Kate will not grow up to be big like them.

Our wish for Kate is “ that we can provide her with the quality of care and love she needs for the rest of her life – so that we can continue to cherish every borrowed day with our beautiful little girl.” Funding is needed for medical equipment, therapy and much needed in-home support and respite. So that we as parents, can focus on the important task of providing ongoing care for our family.

I can't read this without crying. I can't imagine what this family have gone through (click here for the Family support page) so after making a donation I asked Lesley if she thought it would be alright to share little Kate's story with my blog readers.

She said yes and kindly sent me a photo of the little birthday girl! So please take a moment to read about the Engwirda family and feel free to share the link.

It's so important to remember that every moment we have with our loved ones is a precious gift isn't it.


  1. Darling girl, what a lovely post, in the most beautiful-revealing-making-us-aware kind of way. That is so much for one little girl & her family to go through in a short time. My husband & i thank our lucky stars we have 4 healthy happy children, we don't take it lightly, knowing how easily a chromosomal hiccup could happen. You've done a lovely thing for this family Sweet Prints, good on you. Love Posie

  2. Goodness me, I just don't understnd why these sort of things happen to children. I can't see how any of it is remotely fair.

  3. Oh, I have tears reading this too. What an amazing little girl and family. I truly respect families that deal with chronic and life threatening illnesses every day, it must be incredibly hard.

  4. Oh Janette what a beautiful blog.

    I have shed many tears over the darling Kate and my Lucy is 8 days younger than Kate so it is very close to home for me. BUT on the other hand the Engwirda family are nothing short of incredible, Fiona and Mark are such advocates for their kids. Fiona is THE most amazing person I have ever met, she is kind, caring and willing to drop anything if she can help you in anyway (and does regularly), truly AMAZING with everything that is going on in their lives.

    Fiona once said to me....I could wallow in self pity but for for every day I wallow I miss a day of Kate's sad but so true, Fiona has amazing strength.

    I am looking forward to a big cuddle of darling Kate at her birthday party on the weekend.

    We love you Engwirda Family.

    Lesley, Peter, Oscar, Max and Lucy xx

  5. My heart goes out to Kate and her family. What a beautiful little girl xx

  6. You just made me cry. What an amazing little girl. I work for a children's cancer hospital and I deal with sad stories like this every day. My prayers go out to the family.

  7. My eyes have welled up and I have goosebumps. Thanks so much for this post, Janette. An all too poignant reminder of the fragility of life. I'm off to their page now. J x

  8. Lovely post sweet, and it makes you realise how lucky you are. Thanks for posting this, and my heart goes out to little Kate and her wonderful family. K xx

  9. oh it's so sad! Seeing babies the same age as yours of the little boys in my mothers group is currently at the Royal Childrens Hospital recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor! Makes us feel incredibly lucky to have a healthy boy.

  10. my hearts goes out to Kate and her family cant imagine how hard it must be..makes you realize how precious life really is...thanks for sharing this touching story xox

  11. Thinking of little Kate and her family today. Thanks Janette for the reminder that every moment we have with our loved ones truly is a gift x

  12. Thank you for sharing this. Poor little angel. And her family.

  13. What a heartbreaking story. Stories like this really affect me, especially since having a little one myself. Such a sad time for this family, I cannot imagine how difficult seeing their little daughter go through something like this may be. We've had some tough nights with Grace recently and every time I'm comforting her in the rocking chair, I say a little thank you prayer that my little girl is healthy. Thanks for sharing this lovely post Janette, it's so important to be thankful for what we have and to keep others who are not so fortunate in our thoughts and prayers xx

  14. what a fantastic post janette.......and i'm so glad she shared this on your blog, life isn't always a box of roses and all about fashion etc and it's an amazing reminder like you say about how life is short and to cherish every moment we have with each other on this earth, my heart aches when i read things like this.....huge blessings for this family xx

  15. This is truly heart breaking. My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and her family. Kellie xx

  16. I don't know how parents in these situations cope. I don't think I could breathe if one of my children were that ill. You have a good heart Janette..well done for posting about it. Rachaelxx

  17. what a beautiful little girl...a very special post Janette!

  18. A beautiful post Janette - i am trying to hold back my tears (as i sit at my computer at work). Makes me so thankful for everything we have including our family and our health. My heart goes out to Kate and her family

  19. Thanks for this post Janette, helping to raise awareness. My Liam was born with the same heart condition and had open heart surgery at 4 months of age and I thank God every day that we were one of the lucky families. All my love and support to Kate and her family. I wil be making a donation to Heart Kids as we do each year at Christmas.
    X Briohny.

  20. What a beautiful post, I had tears in my eyes reading this. Thanks for sharing this, it does make you so thankful for having healthy children and reminds us to be grateful for every day with them. My heart too goes out to Kate and her family. Gx

  21. Oh Janette,
    This is such a moving post and you have written about this sweet little girl and her family so beautifully. I will pray for this brave family and their little Kate.
    Donna xx

  22. What a beautiful little girl Kate is and what a brave family. Such a lovely post sweet Janette. Wishing Kate a very happy 2nd birthday. Thoughts and prayers are with Kate and her family ~ Tina xx

  23. Many thanks to those whom have commented about our journey with our lovely daugther Kate...

    It is with much sadness that I inform you that we lost Kate on May 21st - Her gift to us is forever held in our memories and in our hearts.

    She was...

    So Loved, So Loving, So Lovely

    Please visit this link to see her life in photos

    Thank-you for sharing our journey.
    Kind Regards
    Fiona Engwirda


Thanks! I love reading your comments! Jxx