BEAUTIFUL: Mum makes poignant new wishlist for baby with terminal illness
8 February 2017
Sara with her precious daughter Clara. Photo: Jeremy Durkin.
A mum who wrote a list of all the things she wanted her unborn baby to achieve has written a new one after her daughter Clara was diagnosed with a rare terminal condition, reports the Mirror.
Clara was born by an early caesarean section after doctors were concerned that she wasn't growing quickly enough. Shortly after birth, she was diagnosed with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, which affects just an estimated 800 people worldwide.
Before giving birth, mum Sara Gardner had written a list of all the things she hoped her baby would achieve, such as riding a horse and earning lots of money. But she had to give up these dreams when she was told that her daughter would have severe learning difficulties and would not walk or talk. Sara, and dad Chris Walsh were also told that people with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome do not usually live past childhood.
After coming to terms with the news, Sara decided to give up her job, and focus on caring for Clara.
Every minute with her is precious
Sara said: “Knowing we could have lost her at any moment and still could made us realise how precious every minute we had with her was.
However, the prognosis was not as bleak as the doctors had suggested.
Doctors had said that Clara would never be able to move or express herself but at eight months she was already smiling and giggling when tickled, so her development left them shocked.
With renewed hope Sara sat down and wrote a new list to replace the one she had penned when pregnant. Now she dreams Clara will one day crawl, touch her toes, paint and even say "mummy" and "daddy". She is sharing the list to raise awareness of Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.
The new improved list. Photo: Jeremy Durkin
Sara says: "Writing it down helped me focus on what she could still achieve rather than what she couldn't. It gave me a new sense of determination to help my daughter reach these goals.
"She is a beautiful, amazing little girl and she has taught us so much in her short life about what really matters.
"I hope sharing our two very different wish lists helps remind other people what's important too.
"Yes it would have been lovely for Clara to ride a horse, but seeing her face when we dipped her toes in the sea was magical and when the sun shines on her face and her eyes flicker with joy I feel like the proudest mother on earth.
"She will never have a career or learn ballet but none of that matters anymore and Clara has taught me that it never really did. What she has achieved makes us proud every moment of every day."
Sara with the two lists. Photo: Jeremy Durkin