AN 11-year-old girl is to cut off her hair in memory of her little sister, who died when she was just two days old.
Cerys Loughrie, from Gorebridge, has been growing her locks for a year – now she will have them snipped off on Monday, the date her sister, Laci, would have turned four.
Her mother Sarah Loughrie is marking Laci’s birthday each year by doing something positive in her memory.
Last year she overcame her fear of heights to skydive on June 26, the date of Laci’s third birthday, and the beginning of the tradition.
She said: “I never knew how to celebrate Laci’s birthday. Some people who have lost a baby have birthday cakes for them, some people ignore the day. Nothing seems to be right for me.
“A birthday should be a happy day and I have the day she died to be sad. So instead I thought I would jump out of a plane.”
The skydive, from St Andrews Airfield, raised £500 for SANDS Lothians, the stillbirth and neonatal charity, and terrified Sarah.
She said: “I didn’t enjoy it and I would never do it again but it’s a fear I have faced.”
This year she is pleased to hand over to Cerys, who had wanted to do the skydive with her but was too young. She will donate her chopped-off hair to the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to cancer. She is also raising money for SANDS Lothians.
Sarah said: “I am so proud of her.”
Laci was born in June 2013, a sister to Cerys and Maia, now 14, with intestinal gut malrotation – her small intestine had attached back to front and was twisted. Ninety per cent of her bowel was dead.
Doctors at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh operated but were unable to save her.
Sarah said: “They let us have a day and a night with her and the girls. We cuddled her, we took photographs, we got her christened. Close friends and family came in so they could meet her.”
Then the machines keeping Laci alive were turned off and she died eight and a half hours later.
Less than a year later, Sarah gave birth to Josh, now three, and while she was delighted to have him, she struggled to cope.
She said: “I had a breakdown when Josh was ten months old. I was in bits, sitting there in tears. I just never had the chance to grieve for Laci.”
After counselling from SANDS Lothians, Sarah, who could not face leaving the house for weeks after Laci died, has regained some of her confidence. And she credits her new job, at The Chase pub in Bonnyrigg, with really boosting her.
She said: “It’s completely turned my life around.”
As for Laci’s birthday next year, Sarah already has a plan – she has signed up for the 10k at the Edinburgh Marathon.
Cerys’ justgiving page is at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-loughrie1?utm_id=25