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A story book & teacher/parent/carer resource to help support children with minimal or no language when one of their friends dies.
A story book & teacher/parent/carer resource to help support children with minimal or no language when one of their friends dies.
A story book & teacher/parent/carer resource to help support children with minimal or no language when one of their friends dies.
186 backers pledged £5,309 to help bring this project to life.

About

A story book & teacher/parent/carer resource to help support children with minimal or no language when one of their friends dies.

Goodbye Daisy - a very special children's book

£5,309

186

Daisy waiting for the bus to take her to school
Daisy waiting for the bus to take her to school

My daughter Daisy was born with a rare, life-limiting genetic disease. She had lots of things going on medically but in-between hospital stays Daisy loved nothing more than going to school and spending time with her friends.  Daisy had a learning disability, she used makaton, a form of sign language, to help her communicate. Despite her minimal verbal skills however Daisy understood everything, she knew exactly what was going on!

Sadly when Daisy was only 10 her beloved Daddy died of cancer.  Her teachers made a special book for us to read to her, helping Daisy to articulate her feelings about losing her Daddy. At the time I found that there were very few books that I could use which were aimed at helping Daisy communicate her feelings around her grief and loss.

A year later Daisy succumbed to sepsis and she joined her Daddy in the stars. Daisy had been the life and soul of her school and the staff and children were devastated.  I remember visiting my friend whose daughter attended the school.  I was really aware when I entered their home that the little girl was trying to make sense of it all - I was in the house, but where was Daisy? She, like Daisy, understood a lot of what was happening but she did not have the words to talk about how she felt. 

As I spoke to the teachers and therapists who had worked with Daisy and her friends at school several things struck me; statistically children in special schools are more likely to lose a classmate than a child in a mainstream school, death and grief are not curriculum subjects, very few resources exist to help children, especially non-verbal or learning-disabled children understand and communicate their feelings around death and dying.

I decided to write my children's book, Goodbye Daisy, because I am passionate about breaking down the taboos about talking about death and dying.  Just because children have a learning disability doesn't mean they are not grieving for their friends.  I saw that so clearly when Daisy's daddy died and later when Daisy herself died.  And with the chances of these children experiencing the death of a schoolfriend statistically higher than a non-disabled child then it's even more important to ensure that they receive the support they need.

At the end of the story Daisy's friend hangs a star in a tree in the school garden. This is Daisy's star at her hospice.
At the end of the story Daisy's friend hangs a star in a tree in the school garden. This is Daisy's star at her hospice.

Goodbye Daisy is told from the point of view of her schoolfriend Evie as she hears the news that she will not see Daisy again and this time Daisy will not come back to school from hospital.  Evie is cross and confused as she has lots of questions she still needs to ask.  Daisy's mummy brings Evie a special gift, the night light that Daisy used to have in her room.  Evie wonders why Daisy didn't take her nightlight with her.  When she falls asleep, Daisy comes to her in her dream and tells her that she doesn't need the light any more and she wants her friend to have it so that Evie can remember all the happy times they spent together.  The next day in school Evie makes a special glitter star and her teacher hangs it high in a tree in the school garden.

I have commissioned experienced illustrator, Helen Braid, to develop the pictures that go with the story.  I worked with Helen on the cover of my book Was this in the plan? and she also developed the visuals for my blog including a picture of Daisy in her wheelchair.

My blog header, designed by Helen, the book's illustrator
My blog header, designed by Helen, the book's illustrator

 I have written an guide for parents/teachers and carers at the back of the book detailing my own experience in helping Daisy with her grief.  Daisy's movement psychotherapist, Ella Beard, who worked with her for many years has also shared her professional advice in the book.  Ella has many years of experience of working with non-verbal children and was key in helping the school come together to mourn and talk about Daisy as they grieved for their friend.

Lastly, as many children with learning disabilities relying on makaton to communicate I plan to include a page of relevant signs as a quick reference guide for parents/carers and teachers.

Risks and challenges

This project is clearly very important to me and I have identified an opportunity to produce a book that would really help children who are likely to experience the loss of one of their friends during their school years.

Last year I published a book called Was this in the plan? via a traditional print publisher but for this book I plan to use print on demand as it is more likely that schools, parents and carers will order online when the book is needed. That way there is no risk of it ever being out of stock if a large quantity is needed. In addition it can also be made more readily available overseas.

Anyone who knows me knows how driven and determined I am, despite losing both my daughter and husband in the last 2 years I want to keep moving forward and trying to make a difference, especially to the lives of children with learning disabilities.

I am a highly experienced marketing professional with a bulging contacts book and am confident that I can promote the book so that sales exceed expectations. In addition as a professional writer I hope to achieve some good press awareness of the project in order to help drive pledges and funding.

So how will the funds raised be used?
It's really important that we get the right illustrations in this book. Daisy loved books, just like many non-verbal, learning disabled children just because she couldn't read didn't mean she couldn't look at the picture and understand what was happening. I have worked with Helen Braid, the illustrator, for a number of years. She designed the the look and feel of my blog including a picture of Daisy in her wheelchair and when I needed a cover design for my first book Helen was the illustrator I called on to turn my vision into reality. She knows my story and I know she will do a brilliant job in bringing my words to life. In addition to make sure that when a child dies parents/carers and teachers know what resources are available its essential to have great publicity. I can call on my contacts and social media presence but sometimes you just need to spend the money. I want to make sure that if a child has lost a friend they have a book available that can help them make sense of it all. Lastly there are printing and distribution costs, I want this book not just to look wonderful but to feel wonderful in your hands, I don't want to skimp on the quality. It's a story worth telling after all.
If there are any funds left over they will be donated to the two causes so incredibly close to my heart; ShootingStar-Chase Children's Hospice and Together for Short Lives.
A percentage of the sale of each book will also be donated to these charities.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    Thank you for helping

    Knowing you have helped get an important book printed.
    Every penny helps and you can help us ensure that the book is available to any child who can't understand why they won't see their friend again

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    Signed Book

    A copy of Remembering Daisy, signed by me.
    Hot off the press, an advance copy just for you

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    76 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $20

    Signed book & Forgetmenots

    A copy of Remembering Daisy, signed by me plus a very special packet of forget me not seeds to remember Daisy.
    I will send you a signed copy of the book, hot off the presses together with a special packet of forget me not seeds to plant in memory of your loved ones

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    25 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $33

    Signed book, forgetmenots & postcard

    A signed copy of Remembering Daisy, hot off the press, forgetmenot seeds to remember your loved one and a special souvenir postcard to keep, send or frame

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    14 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $66

    2 very special books

    Not only will you receive a copy of Goodbye Daisy but you will also receive a copy of Was this in the plan? the book about her family together with a souvenir postcard

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $131

    Name in print

    An opportunity to have your name or the name of a loved one included in a special section at the back of the book plus a signed copy of Goodbye Daisy

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    4 backers
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    Pledge £500 or more About $657

    Your child in the book

    A unique opportunity to have a beautiful illustration of your child included in the book as one of Daisy's friends. (to include listing in the acknowledgements and a signed copy of the book plus a print of the illustration featuring your child/nominated child)

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £750 or more About $986

    Training Event

    I will come to your school/college/establishment/conference and run a training event on talking about death/managing grief with children with learning disabilities. Working closely with LD Nurse specialists and Daisy's own movement psychotherapist I will provide support materials and guidance to assist you in supporting children with learning disabilities. Includes 10 signed copies of the book.

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Funding period

- (60 days)