Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Maddie Asked If Scarlett Would Be Home for Her Birthday. It Was Heartbreaking'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

'Maddie Asked If Scarlett Would Be Home for Her Birthday. It Was Heartbreaking'

Article excerpt

Byline: Lisa Hutchinson Reporter lisa.hutchinson@ncjmedia.co.uk

SHE was their pride and joy and brought giggles to their days.

But in a cruel twist of fate, parents Laura Stead and Darren Busby were left arranging a funeral and a birthday party for two of their children within the same week.

Little Scarlett died in her mum's arms as Laura and Darren said goodbye.

Two days later, other daughter Maddie turned five but she couldn't understand why her little sister wasn't at the party.

Scarlett had stopped breathing and her heart failed while in her cot at their home in Slatyford, Newcastle.

Medics worked on the tot and brought her back to life but machines were keeping her alive. And after being told she had little chance of survival, 15-month-old Scarlett died surrounded by her family.

"We were told she couldn't breathe on her own and wouldn't have any chance of survival, the machine was keeping her alive," said Laura, 29. "They called us in and handed Scarlett to me and she passed away in my arms. I didn't know what to do, I held her and looked at her and just cried."

Scarlett passed away on February 23, but Maddie was due to turn five on February 25.

"Maddie just kept asking if Scarlett would be home for her birthday. It was heartbreaking," added Laura, who also has sevenyear-old daughter Leah.

"We had to postpone her birthday party and we held a tea party with just family instead. We put Maddie's birthday cards up but kept the sympathy cards in the kitchen. It was so hard trying to be happy for Maddie's birthday. We kept going into the other room when it hit us. We just tried to keep the kids surrounded by as many people as we could.

"After Maddie's birthday we all had balloons with messages written on them and went out into the garden and let them go.

"The kids took part and they each had a balloon for Scarlett. Maddie looks every night for Scarlett in the sky. She looks for the brightest star and won't stop looking until she finds it. …

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