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‘They knew her personality, they knew what she liked and they loved her. As her parents, this meant the world to us.’

Our little girl Lillian McCarthy (‘Lil’) was born in 2015. At 2 weeks old she was diagnosed with a neurological condition and at 6 weeks old she was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia and we learned she had no sight amongst many other challenges.

Lil began attending Childvision when she was 3 months old where she had an opportunity to spend time in sensory and play rooms and we as parents were provided with the opportunity to learn how to support, stimulate and play with her.

Visits to Childvision continued from this time and at 15 months, Lil started attending the Childvision preschool regularly. We went twice a week and it was, without doubt, the highlight of her week. She had a school bag, she had pig tails in her hair, she had fun and she made friends. This was a social setting for both parents and children in a normalised setting, something we so desperately wanted for her.

Lil’s day to day life was challenging. She had seizures and spent a lot of her time unwell. We felt so safe sending her to school because there was expert care from the teaching and nursing staff. Her teachers really knew her, and always reported back the events of the day. We loved that other people were getting to know her. They knew her personality, they knew what she liked and they loved her. As her parents, this meant the world to us.

Lil met her best friend Hannah and made many other friends in Childvision and although Lil and Hannah couldn’t speak it was so clear that they loved each other. They would react in their own ways once together and were always up to mischief. We really treasure these memories.

Our world was totally rocked during this time with regular hospital stays and worries for Lil’s health. Childvision gave us a sense of normality and security and showed massive empathy and support in all interactions.

Lil died in 2017 age 22 months. For her one year anniversary, Childvision allowed us to hold a ceremony for her on their premises. This was so special for us to be able to remember Lil in a place she loved.

We are beyond grateful to Childvision for giving our baby girl so much love and care, and most of all, her pals.

David and Rachel McCarthy

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