Awareness by Liz Smith
By GAtherton

Aspergillosis a relatively unknown condition,
Sprung out of the blue and into our lives, changing them forever.
Our beautiful Steph, 21 years old, with a zest for life,
A primary teacher, gifted in her profession,
A vocation so suited to her and was all she dreamed of
Then, only three months from graduating ~ gone forever
Taken from us with such cruel and little warning.

Invasive Aspergillus ~
Nine days was all it took to manifest itself inside her lungs,
Lurking away inside her little body.
Difficult to talk, difficult to breathe,
Heartbreaking to watch her struggle and suffer.
A gifted, healthy, active young woman ~
A ballet dancer, highland dancer, clarinet player;

How could this be? 
But it was ~ both surreal and real!
None of us could foresee the dreadful fate
 that lay ahead for Steph; 
As doctors’ battled in vain to diagnose an illness so rare;
Time was of the essence
But time was not on Steph’s side.

We sat at her bedside, waiting, in disbelief,
This couldn’t be happening to our Steph.
On life support to give her body some rest
The fungal infection continued invading her organs
Rapidly taking her from us.
Events totally out of our control 
Our ‘normal’ lives torn apart.

Gone now are our ‘old lives’, learning to live without her,
Immense sadness in all our hearts;
Yet pride in all that she was and still is to us.
Beautiful in every way ~ inside and out,
Warmth and kindness and her trademark smile. 
How lucky we were to have her in our lives, 
If only for 21 short years.

What now, you ask for us? ~ only to keep her memory alive
How? ~ Raising awareness of Aspergillus 
Hopefully save another life, that’s the key.

By Elizabeth S. Smith
(Steph’s Extremely Proud Mum)