Amy Cunningham tells us about her daughter Ellie, and doing the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon for LauraLynn Children’s Hospice.
I was a young single mammy to Miss Ellie, at 20 years of age. She was born on 18th June 2006 with a very rare condition called cytomegalovirus (CMV). My life completely changed in every single way possible. She was born deaf and blind with cerebral palsy, global development delay, major liver problems, oesepheal varices, and the list goes on. We both made a pact that we would fight this and the boxing gloves went on and the battle began. Ellie was completely dependant on me for everything. She was tube fed and wheelchair bound and needed 24 hour care. For a little girl to have so much going on in her struggle to live, she was the happiest, prettiest little girl with a strong determination that never ever gave up. She made me the proudest mammy ever. Doctors said that Ellie would not have a long life span and every day was precious. We lived every day like it was our last. We did wonderful, beautiful things every single day and making memories was huge to us. The amazing LauraLynn hospice was by my side from day one of Ellie's life. They supported me so much and helped me be Amy again not just Ellie's mammy or carer. Looking after a sick child 24 hours a day is tough going - us mamas do break and LauraLynn was always there to catch me. The love, support and care they gave Miss Ellie was something words will never describe. The staff became our family and looking back now I wouldn't have survived without it. It's such a happy, magical place that gave Ellie more memories than you can ever imagine. On the 5th September 2014 my princess took the wings and flew high and pain free. She was 8 years old. My heart broke but LauraLynn was there every single step of the way. LauraLynn gave us dignity love respect and privacy. I truly am forever grateful. We set out last year, myself and thirteen of my amazing friends, to do the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon in Ellie's honour for LauraLynn. And what a day we had. Miss Ellie was cremated and we all took turns carrying her urn. We walked, laughed and even cried to raise money for the beautiful LauraLynn. The centre is not government funded so every cent is to keep it up and running and the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon is one of the biggest fundraiser for it. If I can advise anyone thinking of doing the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon it's go for it! The experience and adrenalin is fantastic the atmosphere is unreal. It's such a great day. Life for me now is my son Rubén and a new baby on the way this month and keeping Miss Ellie's memory alive. I also volunteer in LauraLynn on the committees and love giving my time back. LauraLynn was our seat belt minding and protecting us in every way possible on our rollercoaster ride with Ellie's illness. And it still is.