Daisy on my mind every step of the way

A Norfolk mum has spoken publicly for the first time of her family's heartache at losing their perfect daughter who died from a rare heart condition at the tender age of just 12.

A Norfolk mum has spoken publicly for the first time of her family's heartache at losing their perfect daughter who died from a rare heart condition at the tender age of just 12.

Pretty Daisy Stonach collapsed after she had just finished a swimming lesson at her school, and despite desperate efforts to revive her she died a few days later in intensive care.

Now her mum Trudy, 43, of Sporle, is set to run a half marathon along the Great Wall of China in memory of her precious daughter and to raise money for a special charity, Cosmic, which gave the family overwhelming support and care as they kept a bedside vigil for Daisy.

Mrs Stonach said: “On the day she fell ill she had just finished swimming three lengths of butterfly. A friend said to her, 'Well done, Daisy,' and she said, 'Thank you.' They were her last words.

“During the time in hospital, we were just numb and in shock - it truly is every parent's absolute worst nightmare.”

The youngster had collapsed after she had just finished a swimming lesson at the Sacred Heart Convent School, Swaffham, on July 5 last year.

Most Read

She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn and the following day she was flown to St Mary's Hospital in London for treatment in a specialist paediatric intensive care unit.

Tragically, despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses at the hospitals, Daisy, who had been on a life-support machine, died a few days later.

An inquest later revealed she had died of natural causes from a heart condition of which she had a one in a hundred million chance of falling ill from.

Mrs Stonach said it was while in hospital she came to the decision that she would run the half marathon, after her daughter's premature death showed that life was too short to put things off until tomorrow.

She said running gave her something to focus on during the dark days after her daughter's death, and in turn the money raised would be able to help other families in the same situation.

“Daisy was absolutely wonderful: she was beautiful, musical, sporty and academic and a good student at school. She was the perfect daughter,” she said.

She added that Daisy - her and husband Andy's only child - was a talented musician who played the clarinet and piano to a high level. She played tennis and had just been selected to play netball at a county level and had talked of one day attending Cambridge University.

Mrs Stonach said that following her daughter's death she began running again as it gave her something to focus on, although Daisy was, and still is, constantly on her mind.

With the help of Pete Johnson, a friend and fellow runner, she has been training hard for months in prepar-ation for the half marathon, which is one of the toughest in the world. It will be on May 19 and part of the route is along the Great Wall of China.

Her mum, Gill, will be travelling with her and offering her support for the run which will be on tough terrain and in a hot humidity.

The money raised will be in aid of Cosmic (Children of St Mary's Intensive Care) which supports the unit to provide life-saving equipment and to fund vital research to ensure that children get the best treatment possible. The charity also provides parents with accommodation when their child is critically ill.

Mrs Stonach, who is a teacher at the Hamond's High School in Swaffham, said: “You hear people say that doctors and nurses are angels, but they truly were at the hospitals - we could not have had better treatment from everyone involved, including the paramedics and helicopter staff who flew us to QEH and St Mary's. We could not have asked for her to have been looked after any better.”

She also wanted to thank the staff and pupils at Hamond's High, The Sacred Heart and Methwold High School, where her husband teaches, as all had taken part in fundraising activities in memory of Daisy.

She said the community had also given a huge amount of support to the family and it had been humbling how many people had offered their care.

“The support has been just incredibly overwhelming. Daisy was truly special and we are incredibly proud of her. She had packed an awful lot into a short time,” she said. “We would also like to thank our friends and family who have shown us so much support and help.

“Daisy will be on my mind every step I take in the half marathon, as she is all the time.”

So far, the family has raised £6,000 for Cosmic but they hope to raise about £10,000 for the charity.

To donate, log on to www.justgiving.com/trudystonach or call Hamond's High School and ask for Lynne Teale, who helped to organise the fundraising campaign, on 01760 721480.