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Louise's Story

The darkest of days, the day our families lives changed forever.

This is Louise's Story

The day our lives changed forever.

Louise was 8 years old when we took her to the doctors because of some unusual eating habits and complaining about pains in her legs, we did not think it was anything to worry about at the time, but the doctor suggested we took her for a blood test.

The day after her blood test Louise was on a school trip at Mountfitchet castle, I got a call from my wife (Amanda) saying the doctor had rung to say we must collect Louise from her school trip and take her to Great Ormond Street Hospital.
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I was in Surrey at the time and immediately dropped everything and went home as my wife was picking Louise up from her school trip. ​But on my way home, Amanda informed me that we now had to take her to our local hospital because you must be referred to GOSH.

When we got to the hospital, they wanted to take a blood test straight away, at this point we still didn’t have a clue what was going on.​ After about 2 hours of the doctor trying to take blood from a very upset and scared little girl, they eventually got it. At this point, I had enough and stopped the doctor and asked what on earth is going on. "Louise has Leukaemia", the doctor replied. Amanda and I just could not believe what we had just heard, but being parents, we braved it out whilst we were with Louise, but we had both been destroyed.

That evening, Louise was eventually transferred to GOSH and on arrival, we bought her a Giraffe from the hospital shop that she named Geoffrey. Geoffrey the Giraffe becomes a big part of the story.

After a week being in GOSH after having more tests, Louise started on medication straight away.

Louise was 8 years old when we took her to the doctors because of some unusual eating habits and complaining about pains in her legs, we did not think it was anything to worry about at the time, but the doctor suggested we took her for a blood test.
We were told that Louise had a very rare form of Leukaemia (Philadelphia B) which had a 50/50 survival rate, after all the devastating news we had to knuckle down and help Louise fight this together.

I must say GOSH and the nurses really helped us feel comfortable whilst we were there and they were brilliant with Louise.

In the first few weeks we noticed that Louise became very fond of Geoffrey the Giraffe, and he went everywhere with her, even when she had a special visit from Stella McCartney who was only there to see the charity team, but someone suggested to her she should go and see Louise, and she did.
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Louise died on February 9th 2013 one year after finding out she had Leukaemia at 9 years old.​ We had seen just how much Geoffrey the Giraffe had meant to Louise, so we had a replica carving done of him for Louise’s headstone, and the original Geoffrey was also laid to rest with Louise.

She spent hours with her designing clothes and even made a T-shirt with Giraffe markings in her name, you could see how much Geoffrey meant to Louise.​ After months of treatment and a bone marrow transplant that my son, Tommy donated (on his 7th birthday and eventually a T-cell transplant), there were some real downtimes with some serious side effects.

We were then told the devastating news that they could not do anything else for Louise and were planning on sending her home in a few days. We were told that she only had maybe a month or two to live, but sadly, Louise passed away 3 days later in Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Many years went by that Amanda and I did not talk about Louise much as it was so painful but after some strange events on a Facebook aviation group, I saw that some people were editing Giraffes on their photos which was great to see as it fondly reminded me of Louise's Geoffrey.​

But after a few weeks a few people started moaning about the Giraffes, it was at this point I made a comment that I enjoyed seeing them and the reason why. This was the first time I had spoken about Louise and Geoffrey the Giraffe to a lot of strangers.​

After a few months, a few friends of mine surprised me with a gift of a Facebook page that they had created for me and had called it Giraffes On Tour, and in the months previously to this surprise they had Geoffrey’s flying all over the world along with my favourite photo of Louise. I really could not believe it, and from there it has taken off literally.​
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From my wonderful friends starting this group for me, not only has it allowed me to openly speak about Louise after so many years of being unable to do so, but so has the whole family and we all can comfortably speak of Louise, and the amazing things happening at Giraffes On Tour, whilst at the same time helping Great Ormond Street Hospital who helped us in a very dark period for the whole family and keeping her spirit alive is paramount to us all.​​

The Facebook group has become popular along with our other social media outlets. Geoffrey and Giraffes On Tour have become a well known fixture in military and general aviation, and has a far reach all over the world with the most generous people willing to help us out is exciting and humbling to say the least.

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