In memory of Monique

A week before her fourth birthday, Monique was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine giloma (DIPG), an aggressive childhood brain tumour that develops in the brainstem and affects the nervous system.

“Monique was always a very bubbly little girl. Her sisters would always call her the ‘queen of the house’ – a bit bossy, but very loving and caring. For a little person, she had a big personality,” shares her mum, Danielle.

Monique died 13 months after she was diagnosed, leaving behind her loving parents Danielle and Darryl, twin sister Zoe and older sister Olivia.

The family decided to honour their daughter’s memory by taking part in Run Melbourne, raising vital funds for the children and families supported by Very Special Kids.

Danielle and Darryl were referred to Very Special Kids by The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Their Family Support Practitioner, Jenni, was based locally, making it easier for the Lockington-based family to have regular visits.

I don’t know where we would be without Jenni. I remember Jenni coming to our house and meeting Monique and the girls. It was nice to speak to someone who just got it.

Jenni was there for the family during Monique’s final days, helping Danielle and Darryl navigate difficult conversations with Zoe and Olivia, while they tried to cope with their own grief.

“We didn’t want to upset the girls in the early stages. But when it got towards Monique’s end of life, we had to have that conversation with them. It was good to have Jenni there to help prepare the girls and better understand what was happening. She gave us lots of resources, books, and craft activities to help them with their grief.”