Honouring the memory of Charlie

This year Catherine, Stuart and their daughter Alice Matthews will be participating in the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge, in honour of their daughter and sister who died, Charlie.

Charlie passed away in the Very Special Kids hospice in December 2013 at only 7 months old, and since then the family have been slowly putting the pieces back together.

Originally Catherine and Stuarts number one priority was “helping Charlie’s older sister, Alice, now five, through her grief and her struggle to understand why her sister had to go to Heaven, why we can’t visit her there and why she can never come back” says Catherine.

Charlie was born in May 2013 and was a happy and healthy little baby. In the first few months of her short life, everything seemed to be going as you would hope. She laughed, she cried, she fed and slept well, and loved watching her big sister.

Then at 5 ½ months of age Charlie suffered her first seizure and was rushed to hospital. The seizures became more and more frequent, and didn’t respond to medication.

She spent the following 7 weeks in Intensive Care at Monash Medical Centre with no explanation as to why this was happening. During their time at Monash Medical Centre, the Matthews were put into contact with Very Special Kids.

“Around Christmas time, it was clear that Charlie didn’t have much time left, and Very Special Kids made special arrangements to have our family move into the Hospice over the Christmas/New Year period. 

We were grateful that we could spend Charlie’s final days away from the medical environment of Intensive Care, and be in a place that was so peaceful, private, and supportive” said Catherine.

The family had an ongoing relationship with their support worker to begin with and Alice will also participate in sibling days from this year onwards. She has also been given a second chance at being an older sister with the arrival of her beautiful, healthy baby brother Ted, who is just one-year-old.

“The treadmill challenge has been such a positive way to stay involved with Very Special Kids and to help raise funds and awareness for this very special organisation. It’s a way to both honour the memory of our Daughter through forming ‘team Charlie’ and also to in some small way, give back to this organisation who has done so much for our family and supports more than 900 families across our State” said Catherine.

Team Charlie is made up of family, friends and Stuart’s work colleagues and Stuart has participated every year since they lost Charlotte. To support families and teams like this, head here.

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