The Story of Emily

“This is Emily. This is her. Without the tubes, the medical aids… this is what we see. Not her condition… just our little girl.”

– Nicole Becker, upon seeing the artwork we created for her daughter Emily.

Emily has an acquired brain injury as a result of having meningitis when she was just one month old. She is unable to walk, talk, sit up or control her arms and legs. She cannot eat or drink anything, so her nutrition is delivered directly to her heart.

The injury to Emily’s brain was so severe that she was not expected to live without life support. But this strong, determined little girl has just turned eight.

“Life has never been and will never be easy for Emily, but she is determined to make the most of every opportunity that comes her way. Her persistence and resilience is greater than any other person I know!”

Emily’s superpower is communicating without words. She has worked extremely hard to learn how to speak with her eyes, and her cheeky little smile is a constant source of joy for her family.

You are always guaranteed to see that smile when she’s in the water. No matter how bad the day has been, she is happiest when floating in the ocean or a pool, in the arms of her mum or dad, with her brother Ben and sister Olivia close by.

And they are usually joined in the water by Emily’s companion dog Belle, a black Labrador who she adores. He never leaves her side!

Emily has had over 12 brain surgeries in her short life, some requiring her to spend months in hospital at a time. This is the family’s biggest struggle- dealing with the separation during lengthy hospital admissions.

“We get our strength from each other. We try and lift one another up.”

The words in the artwork come from one of the family’s favourite quotes about Emily:

“Be brave, my heart
Have courage, my soul.”

And after meeting her mum Nicole, I see how incredibly brave this family really is. She said to me:

“I know we won’t have Emily forever. We know that there will be a time when we will have to say goodbye.”

The way they manage to deal with this knowledge yet still approach every day with love and laughter, making the most of every one, is the most courageous thing I can imagine.

You can purchase prints of Emily’s artwork here.

| Hannah Moss | Moss Copy Creative Communications
| | @hannamossity |

Artwork by
| Janet Pan | Little Sketchy
| | @littlesketchyaus |

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