Lola Ella Melia Duncalf 10/03/2011-25/01/2012
This page began as a rememberance page for my beautiful little girl, but since then we have used it to fundraise for multiple challenges myself, family and friends have completed in aid of Meningitis Now. These have included a skydive by myself a group of Lola's friends and family, 3 Marathons including the London Marathon by Lola's uncle Steven aswell as 173 mile bike rides, The Highlands Challenge, zip wires, 10k's, santa dashes, chest waxes along with charity fundraising stalls and raffles.
We have also raised money for Alder Hey's new building, the ICU & bereavement suite and meningitis research.
Thank you for your continued support!
Lola was the beautiful one and only daughter of myself, Lauren Melia and Andrew Duncalf. She was such a happy child every day of her life. She brought happiness to so many lives and brightened up everyone's day as soon as they saw her big sparkly eyes and infectious smile.
Lola loved to dance and would often have the whole family in stitches with her dance moves and she would even try sing along, though she couldn't say many words yet. Her favourite shows were Special Agent Oso, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jungle Junction. Whenever she would hear the theme tunes she would crawl over to see the television so fast and stare and clap along. When the other songs were played throughout the shows, particularly the ‘Hot Dog Song’, she would climb up the TV stand, to stand herself up to dance and sing along with Minnie and Mickey.
After just 10 months of having her in our lives, she caught meningitis and septicaemia, a strain so rare it entered her blood stream and took over her body and within 24 hours our baby girl was declared brain dead. Heartbroken doesn't cover how we felt. We had no idea she was so sick when she had been doing the same dance moves the night before.
She had awoken in the early hours of Tuesday 24th of January 2012 being sick and feeling generally unwell. After a long day in the hospital being seen bu countless doctors the team claimed they were unsure what was causing Lola to be so ill. She was sleepy and floppy, they ran some tests to rule out meningitis and septicemia, by this tome though it was probably too late. She had a variety of antibiotics pumped into her small body, to treat whatever the unknown infection was. After being in a&e for hours, Lola was finally transferred up to the high dependency unit. It was then we all realised just how ill our baby girl was. Lola lost her breath as she was transferred from the trolley to her bed in the high dependency unit. She went into cardiac arrest and I turned around to see a team of doctors rush in and begin ressusitating my little girl. I was pulled out of the room, everything went slow motion like on tv, I felt like I was going to throw up and faint all at once the pain and shock hit me that hard. Eventually she was resuscitated and put into a coma so her body could fight the infection that was growing rapidly in her body.
We were allowed just two minutes with her before she was transferred to the intensive care unit, where she was linked up to so many drips and had wires coming out of every part of her body. When we were allowed to see her in Intensive Care, We spent time telling her stories of what we would buy her and what we would do as a family if she were to get stronger and fight this infection. We sang her favourite songs hoping she could hear us and kissing her. We were made to wear gloves, face masks and aprons as the doctors had never seen this infection before and were not sure how infectious it was.
We felt reassured our baby was going to be fine that night as we walked down the corridor to try to get some sleep just a few rooms away. It wasn't until the morning when we were told they had taken Lola off sedation and were expecting movement that our hopes were shattered. We had expected her to be pulling at everything and see her sparkly eyes light up again when she saw her mummy and daddy. When the nurses shone the light into her eyes, they were not responding. Bad sign Andrew told me. I didn't have a clue what was going on, I was convinced that my baby couldn't leave me. I was there to protect her, I'm her mum, I'm supposed to be able to fix everything.
The doctors plus a donor specialist and an obs nurse took us to another room. We were squeezing each other’s hand so tight, hoping to be told some good news. He told us, 'the girl in that bed next door is not your little girl anymore, the infection has taken over her brain and essentially made her brain dead'. I remember the second doctor who had been looking after Lola broke down when I asked, 'so you're telling me my baby is dying?' they grabbed hold of our hands tightly, as we broke down. It was all so fast. She was dancing on Monday I told them, I shouted to him that I'd shown him the video of her dancing just a few hours before she got sick. I could tell he couldn't believe it either.
We were left to say goodbye to our little girl who was being kept alive by machines. Whilst all our family were called and brought to the hospital, we asked a family friend who was a vicar to do a short blessing as Lola had not yet been christened. I held my baby in my arms whilst her daddy held her favourite teddy, Special Agent Oso on his knee, and had his arms around us all, while our family and friends came in to witness the blessing and sign Lola with the cross. We were left for a few moments before the ventilator was switched off and her heart stopped beating in my arms.
We were left to change her nappy for one final time and dress her before we carried her to the bereavement suite wrapped in blankets. The few people we walked past just thought she was sleeping... The alder hey bereavement suite workers did an amazing job looking after us and our family over the next few weeks. We have donated blankets and money to their department as a thank you for all they did for us, particularly Mandy.
Her family have been doing a number of events in Lola's memory to raise money so that other families do not have to suffer the same consequences as we have. I wouldn't wish the pain of losing a child on anybody.
We love you Lola, we talk and think about you every day in the hope that we can be reunited again one day.
Sweet dreams Boo. X
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