On Sunday 16 June 2019 staff and sixth formers from Neston High School will be running the Port Sunlight 5K and 10K in memory of my daughter, Emma Mannix to raise money for The Emma Mannix Tribute Fund at Bloodwise (previously Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research UK).
Since starting at Neston High School in January 2018 as a History teacher and now working as part of the Senior Leadership Team as Assistant Headteacher I have had the opportunity to talk to staff and students about my daughter and have been overwhelmed by the support I have been given in this fundraising event we are doing.
Emma was born on Saturday 10 March 2012, the happiest day of our lives. From that moment she was born she never failed to surprise and amaze us! Emma was the most beautiful baby and perfect in every possible way. She had beautiful eyes, the most amazing infectious smile and a cheeky personality to match. As a nervous first time mum she gave me the confidence to go to places like Baby Sensory classes which we both loved and introduced us to new friends. Emma was extremely sociable and everyone she met commented on how alert she was with those sparkling eyes. Emma was bright, feisty, full of life and an inspiration to us all.
Emma was diagnosed with Pure Erythroid Leukaemia a very rare type of leukaemia on 21 June 2012, at that time only one other baby in the world had been diagnosed with this type of leukaemia which is why we have chosen Bloodwise as the charity in her memory. One thing I learnt during that time is when it comes to cancer there is never a plan, things constantly change from one moment to the next, the only thing that seems to be in control is the cancer itself. The whole time we were in Alder Hey hospital our consultant had told us about a rare form of leukaemia that could fit Emma’s symptoms but that this was highly unlikely as it was so rare. You literally have more chance of winning the lottery than getting this type of cancer, it is rare in adults, extremely rare in children and beyond rare in babies. When Emma started having tests this we were told it was highly unlikely and was at the bottom of the list of possibilities, you can only imagine the shock when it turned out it was at the top.
At the time of diagnosis Emma was very seriously ill. However being Emma she surprised and amazed us all by bouncing her way through chemotherapy in her own unique style. You may be under the impression that Emma spent the last few months suffering but Emma did not suffer, you only have to look at the photographs of her to see she laughed in the face of chemotherapy, showing little sign of side effects! Emma was such a fighter with great determination. Emma never once felt sorry for herself during her treatment and instead amazed everyone with her resilience. She had a fantastic spirit that gave us all such hope and meant we were able to enjoy the best of times with her.
Emma achieved such a lot in her life. If she was here now she would probably be trying to eat anything she could get her hands on in between her cheeky, infectious, special smiles and would certainly be stealing the show! Emma enjoyed a full life and despite her young age achieved so much. She loved reading and read her books every day, it was such a joy to see her eyes light up with every page and her eagerness to turn those pages! She loved songs, especially ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ with her dad and ‘Cheeky Monkey’ and ‘Hawaii 5 0’ with her mum (don’t ask!). Emma could also write, (obviously being gifted!) and kept a diary every day of all her activities. She could drive a car which she loved to do when showing off to the doctors on their rounds and even made friends with a celebrity, Gary Barlow!
Despite the best efforts of everyone Emma lost her battle with leukaemia aged just 7 months old, this is something we would never want any other family to go through and this is way Bloodwise is such an important charity to us to try and raise money to fund research, particularly for the type of leukaemia that Emma had which was just so rare.
As devastated as we are by our loss we are determined to keep Emma’s amazing spirit and positivity alive in how we live our lives as a tribute to her. We are and always will be so incredibly proud of Emma.
By participating in the Port Sunlight Run, staff and students from Neston High School are not only helping to keep Emma’s spirit alive but also raising money for the vital research that Bloodwise fund.
Go Team Emma!