This time one year ago CheltehamMaman Natalia Spencer was worrying about all of the usual types of mothering quandaries. Her five year old’s fussy eating, what to buy for christmas, how to fit it all in… and then very suddenly her life changed in a way she could never have imagined.
CheltenhamMaman is particularly proud to be supporting Natalia’s charity, Elizabeth’s Footprint during the month of December, the month during which, only one year ago, Natalia lost her 5 year old daughter to a disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.
Natalia is currently walking the length of the Great British coast in memory of her daughter and was kind enough to tell us about her experiences in a remote interview.
CMHQ: Thanks Natalia for telling us about this amazing thing that you are doing. For our readers who are not familiar with your situation and what you are doing could you explain what happened to your beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, last year?
Natalia: Elizabeth was a happy healthy beautiful girl and she was taken ill on 22nd November 2015 where I rushed her to hospital, we were then transferred to Bristol Childrens hospital where we were told Elizabeth was unlikely to live. For 18 days I watched my Elizabeth fighting hard for her life, eventually she lost her fight on 10th December 2015. Her condition was found out to be HLH.
CMHQ: And now you are almost ten months in to your ‘Walk of Love’ in memory of Elizabeth. Tell us about the walk, why you decided to do it and what you hope to achieve?
Natalia: When Elizabeth passed the only place I felt at peace was by the sea, Elizabeth loved the beach. I saw a rainbow and it gave me the hope and idea to do a walk of love to raise funds for other poorly children.
CMHQ: Where about in the UK are you know? How much ground do you have left to cover and when do you expect to be back in Cheltenham?
Natalia: I have just come from Hartlepool on the North East Coast, I have under 2000 miles to go and I hope to be finished by February 14th – a year after I started.
CMHQ: What has surprised you most during the last ten months on this journey?
Natalia: Surprised; … probably the generosity, support & kindness of total strangers
CMHQ: Have you found lots of peaceful moments to reconnect with Elizabeth?
Natalia: I have many peaceful moments but Elizabeth is always with me in my heart, when I see a rainbow I know Elizabeth is there and happy.
CMHQ: And how much have you raised so far for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal? Are you getting close to your target?
Natalia: We (Elizabeth’s Footprint) have just this week hit over £100,000, we hope for many more kind donations to possibly double the amount.
CMHQ: No mother wants to endure what you have been through but when the worst happens it’s amazing what a difference good quality care and attention can mean to those who are suffering. How did Bristol Children’s Hospital make a difference to your experience.
Natalia: The nurses & doctors at Bristol Children’s hospital were fantastic, they did everything they could to try and help Elizabeth, we are still in touch and the nurses have just been to walk with me.
CMHQ: And can they continue to do that without charitable support?
Natalia: No, every single donation means so much to help other poorly children, I hope it helps so that other parents do not have to experience what I have had happen to me.
CMHQ: What can our readers do to help your campaign?
Natalia: Please can your readers, share the story, like our page on Facebook, donate and carry on supporting this journey. Thank You so much for your ongoing help and support to spread the word.
CMHQ: Thank you so very much for finding the time to answer our questions. The Mums of Cheltenham and indeed the whole of the country are right behind you for every single step. You’re an inspiration and we can all learn a lot from your courage and strength. Elizabeth must be very, very proud of her Maman.