This is my story, a story of my family, my amazing smiley girl named Imogen and our journey through childhood cancer from sadness to sharing Princess Ladybird’s with the world.
It was early 2007, and our normally happy and cheeky little girl, was not herself. After countless doctors’ appointments with varied diagnosis, I founded a new doctor and refused to leave without an answer. After a lot of questions, a feel of her tummy and an emergency ultrasound, we found ourselves that night on the ‘kid’s oncology’ ward at our local children’s hospital.
What followed was a barrage of tests and then we were lead to a ‘quiet’ room and told the unthinkable “Your daughter has an aggressive childhood cancer and she must begin treatment immediately to survive”.
Heartbroken yet determined together with Imogen over the next three years we rode the childhood cancer ride. Though the aggressive treatments, the surgeries, the highs of clear scans, countless blood tests, the lows of infections, extended hospital stays, and unthinkable other experiences we never considered the fact she would leave us ever.
Then one day we were lead down that sterile hospital hall to that ‘quiet’ room again and told “Your daughter has relapsed and you have no treatment options left”.
Broken again, we regrouped. We questioned. We searched. We believed things could be different.
“She couldn’t leave us, could she?”
“How would we breathe…live without her?”
We searched for overseas options, but we knew our Imogen was tired. Hospital and cancer was all she had known since she was only 2. We believe we bought her some time with natural treatments, but in February when Imogen declared she had had enough of everything, we had to respect those words even as they torn us apart.
Imogen spent her last weeks snuggled in our bed watching Tom and Jerry: The Movie countless times, eating lasagne, fairy bread and drinking Sunkist. Five days after her 6th birthday in the early hours of the 1st of May, our girl Imogen, wrapped in our arms took her final breath.
After the funeral, our world stopped. Numbness set in, the first year passed, a blur of ebbs and lows, resting place visits, and wondering how we could continue to breathe without her.
The second year, a new member to our family bought happiness and while the numbness had also worn off we constantly were faced with the painful realisation that she was never returning.
It was from this suffocating grief I realised I needed to do something to stay connected to my ‘only’ girl. It was from her love of craft that Imogen’s Angels came to life. What started as a way for me to stay connected with Imogen is now a business, a tribute to Imogen and all angels in so many ways.
Though birthing Imogen’s Angels helped, I felt the need to give more back. My Imogen had been blessed enough to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish Australia and it was with those memories and her love for ladybirds we began the ‘Princess Ladybird’ week.
Now in its second year, it is celebrated from the 24th of April to the 1st of May. This week is significant to us in so many ways but primarily because Imogen’s birthday falls on the 26th of April and her passing was on 1st of May. During this week we sell a little ladybird brooch, in Imogen’s favourite colour green, and raise funds and awareness for Make-A-Wish Australia.
In creating this week we are able to remember our beautiful Imogen in all her magical light and share some of that magic with little ladybirds; Princess Ladybirds.
‘Princess Ladybird’ brooches are available from imogensangels.bigcartel.com/product/princess-ladybird
Photo by Dilkarra Photography