MEET THE LADYBIRD
Emma Louise Pascoe - our "Lily Ladybird"
(Emma's story retold by her parents, Wayne & Maree Pascoe)
The Story Behind the Ladybird
Emma Louise came into our lives on Oct 2nd, 1996, a healthy baby girl. At only eight weeks old Emma presented at hospital with an enlarged heart (metabolic
cardiomyopathy) resulting in Cerebral Palsy. She was placed on the Autism Spectrum, as there was no actual medical diagnosis for her condition, and prescribed a cocktail of heart medications. When specialists said she would never survive her first year, Emma continued to defy the odds, and learned how to sit, walk and talk, albeit at a delayed pace compared with her peers.
We read to Emma throughout her childhood, but one book was very special. It taught about overcoming shyness and featured the transformation of a ladybird; Little Lily Ladybird. It seemed fitting that Emma’s nickname was Lily Ladybird after her hero in the book. For us, ladybirds became a symbol of healing and hope for the future.
"No One Should Have to Bury Their Child"
Emma had an incredible impact on our friends, family and the general community with her infectious, cheeky character and a stubborn determination to live life despite her disabilities. We were always touched that she drew kindness from people wherever she went. Her raucous laughter was contagious.
We were blessed to have 18 medically miraculous years with our precious daughter, and were able to celebrate her 18th birthday surrounded by family and friends. However, as Emma grew, her heart weakened and on November 2nd, 2014, exactly one month after her 18th, Em’s heart was no longer able to sustain her. That was the day we had the unbearable task of saying goodbye to our precious daughter for the last time.
Our Grief Journey
The ensuing weeks and months were immensely dark and lonely, with friends and family desperately trying to support us whilst dealing with their own grief. We felt alone and isolated. Bereavement care for us as parents and our wider family was non-existent, so we sourced our own counselling assistance to aid our grief journey. We were told by health professionals that it was common for the family unit, friendships and other human connections to be negatively impacted after such a traumatic life event. With the ongoing effect of grief taking its toll mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, statistics show
divorce rates increase notably and wider family relationships are strained.
Strength in Numbers
Not wanting other parents and families to experience their grief journeys alone, we became passionate about finding a way to help others. When Wayne’s core group of mates, the Elite Athletes, suggested we set up a charity in honour of Emma, gratitude overwhelmed us, and we knew this was our new purpose in life. Consequently, from our lived experience, our mission now is to support other families in their time of crisis and beyond. No one should have to navigate the loss of their beloved family member alone!
Honouring Emma's Memory
Thus, the Ladybird Care Foundation was launched in honour of our valiant, beautiful "Lily Ladybird". We remember the many ways she touched our lives and the lives of those around her, and her story will continue to impact lives for generations to come.