On the 21st October our beautiful butterfly, Isabella Maria Soares (aka "Bells" aka "Peanut") exchanged her earthly wings for those Heavenly-bound. Isabella's lungs, having fought off many nasty infections, struggled to recover from the last one and ensuring a healthy flow of oxygen to her precious body, despite ventilation, just became too much.
It was with heavy hearts that we made our way to Vredenburg last Wednesday to bid our final farewell to Isabella. A church filled to bursting point bid witness to just how loved and respected the family is...and the priest's sermon had barely begun when many a tear had already fallen. His words rang so true...Isabella came into this world with a struggle and left it equally so.
In her short four years, Isabella faced more battles than most of us will ever know. Born at full term on 22 June 2011 by normal delivery but was soon after transferred from West Coast Hospital to Panorama NICU after she only managed her first effective breath after 45 minutes. At Panorama Hospital Isabella was diagnosed with Perinatal Asphyxia, severe HIE, Meconium Aspiration and Epilepticus. She was ventilated for two weeks and underwent an MRI which confirmed brain damage. Doctors confirmed an official diagnosis of Quadriplegic Spastic Cerebral Palsy and prepared Isabella's parents, Michelle and Mario, for the worst.
Despite requiring several procedures to ease Isabella's eating challenges, needing medication to control seizures and later developing Khyposis, to name but a few of the hurdles Isabella encountered, the love, passion and peace with which the family embraced life was something to behold. Michelle, who very obviously dotes on Isabella and her younger brother, Marcello, is never to be seen without a smile and twinkle in her eye. Popping in (from 150km's or so away) to join us for a burger on Mandela Day last year, while fussing over Bells' gorgeous locks and gazing lovingly into her daughter's face is a memory to last a lifetime...such a "normal" mommy-daughter moment.
Mario, Michelle, Marcello and our beautiful Isabella will forever remain part of our Daniel and Friends Family...we can only but offer sympathy beyond imagine and a promise to be there with them through this time xxx