2020 would have been Gabrielle's 18th birthday, and her sister Diana wanted to do something big in her memory. She decided on a skydive, and following delays due to COVID, she is finally taking part in our Big Jump this Saturday (weather permitting!).

As if that wasn't exciting enough, she's roped in Julia's House Sibling Worker Maria to do it with her! 

Maria was a huge support to Diana throughout Gabrielle's illness and later, her mum passing away. What better way to repay her than making her jump 13,000 from a plane! 

Diana - my story

Gabrielle Jane Lawrence was born on the 01/04/2002. She was born with Hemimegalencephaly on the left side of her brain. A rare neurological condition in which one-half of the brain is abnormally larger than the other and causes severe seizures. With other diagnoses being Epilepsy, Severe learning difficulties, Scoliosis and having to be fed through a gastrostomy. As a result of all her complications she was unable to walk, talk or swallow and keep down food. But despite all her difficulties she was one of the happiest little girls and was still able to interact and communicate in her own little way. 


Gabrielle was always so excited when we dropped her off at Julia's House, she would spend the day taking part in many activities, such as messy play, using their sensory room and even baking. Leaving Gabrielle with a team of people we knew and trusted made our time away from her less of a worry, we always knew she was safe and would have the best time. Some weekends the nurses would come for day visits at the house and she enjoyed their company in our own home.  

Mum's life revolved around the love and care for Gabrielle, from the moment she woke up to the moment she went to bed. When a child is seriously ill you just don’t get those breaks when you can be together. All the focus is on keeping her safe and alive. Mum gave her everything to give my sister the best quality of life. When Gabrielle would go to respite it allowed mum to have a break and me and my sister Carly to have time with her and enjoy family trips and days out. We mainly spent that time going shopping, to the beach, cinema etc. 

Gabrielle with her sisters and mum

My sister Carly and I took part in many sibling trips, where we shared days out and weekends away with other siblings who were in the same position as us. Our favourite was a few nights up in Wales, we learnt how to start a fire, build a shelter and other outdoor survival bits. We took part in archery, went gorge walking and played many indoor and outdoor games. We also had sleepovers at the hospice, went ice skating and went to Thorpe Park. Through these trips we created so many amazing friendships and memories. 

Gabrielle has always been my little fighter, and after 15 years of fighting she grew her wings on the 23rd January 2018. The one wish mum had was for her not to be in a morgue. Therefore we got in contact with Julia's House, where they laid her to rest in their Mermaid Suite until her funeral. A beautiful room with access to a small garden for us to spend our final days with my little sister. They made us dinner the night before the funeral and even donated £1000 towards the funeral costs to help take the financial pressure away. 

Gabrielle with her sister

The help and support has never stopped, the Julia's House team still check up on us to this day. It’s been a difficult two and a half years without her, but this year, the year of her very special birthday she will have our mummy to celebrate once again beside her. Our mummy grew her angel wings just 20 months later in September 2019. I couldn’t ever imagine being my mum, and losing a child she cared for day in and out, at just under 16 years. Her lifestyle, her job, our family home and most importantly her little girl, disappeared the day the angels took Gabrielle. It is one of the most unimaginable and traumatic things to live through, and therefore a broken heart is what took my mummy away. 

Gabrielle with her mum

The last day I ever got with my mum was spent at Julia's House. We attended a remembrance day with other families that have gone through losing a loved one. We spent the day making arts and crafts, eating scones and cake and mainly remembering the happy times we all shared with Gabrielle. Some of the nurses attended my mum's funeral, made us dinner the night before and have really helped us cope through the hardest of days and we honestly can't thank them enough.

They have always been like family to us, I'm so grateful for everything they have done. Without them I would not of had the most amazing childhood. From their help and support we've been able to create our own happy memories that will last a life time.

So please donate and take the time to share! I can't wait to be able to take part in something different, raise money to an amazing charity so close to my heart and most importantly be able to fly high with both my mum and sister. 


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