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“Lilly was extremely vibrant, and she had an infectious giggle,” says Lilly’s mother, Sarah.
Lilly was born in December 2007 and she was the first daughter of Sarah and Liam Fish. Three years later they gave birth to Lilly’s best friend Zoe, now seven-years-old.
When Lilly was just four-years-old, she woke up one morning with a lump that had come out of nowhere, and the Fish family’s lives were changed forever. In February 2012, Lilly was diagnosed with a stage 1 Wilms Tumour, which is cancer in one kidney.
“We were on holiday when we found out and we went straight to the hospital and she had surgery to remove the tumour and then chemotherapy for 6 months. After that she was cancer free. But then she relapsed twice” explains Sarah.
Zoe was only 2 years old when her sister was diagnosed with cancer, but they were the best of friends.
“I couldn’t have wished for them to be any closer, they did everything together.”
Very Special Kids began supporting the Fish family soon after the diagnosis of Lilly’s cancer. They were partnered with one of our family support practitioners, and she went to the family home to practice art therapy with both Zoe and Lilly.
“The art therapy that Mei did with the girls really helped us through difficult times. It offered us an insight into the girls world and showed us they were resilient, it was priceless” said Sarah.
Lilly died at home in July 2014.
Zoe will now get to keep the art she did with her sister forever, and it helped her through a process that is difficult for anyone to go through, let alone a four-year-old.
“She was crushed, she was really aware of what was going on, we explained it to her in simple terms, but her best friend was gone so she was devastated.”
Zoe now attends every Bereaved Sibling Day that Very Special Kids holds and she always asks her mum when they are coming up next.
“She absolutely loves them. They always seem to come around just when she needs them, and she’s starting to make friends and see familiar faces too. After the last one she told me she had ran into a boy that had lost his older sister just like her. We think they’re invaluable” said Sarah.
Last year Zoe became an older sister as the Fish family welcomed Roland into their family, now nine-months-old. Sarah stays in regular contact with Mei, and says her “support is really good, she was fantastic through it all. She is always there to offer guidance and support when we need it.”
The Fish family still incorporate Lilly into everything they do, and make sure they talk about her often, in order to keep her vibrant spirit alive.
Very Special Kids supports families through bereavement for as long as they require our services, to help us continue to support families like the Fish family you can donate online here.
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