The father of a 14-month-old who died earlier this year has opened up about his heartbreak and thanked his daughter for “making him a better human being”.
Little Willow Scanlan died in January after being brought to hospital in Aberdeen with a chest infection.
Willow was born with a hole in her heart and was later diagnosed with the rare and serious genetic disorder Edwards Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 18.
Few babies with the condition survive past their first birthday but Willow’s parents Gina and David spent months fighting for her to get heart surgery which could extend her life.
She had the operation in Glasgow last June, and then moved into the Children Hospices Across Scotland (Chas) Robin House hospice in Balloch with her family, before returning home to Fyvie.
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To coincide with Father’s Day this Sunday, Mr Scanlan is fronting a new Chas campaign showing solidarity with bereaved dads and those who have a child with a life-shortening illness.
Alongside two other fathers who received support from Chas, he has penned a heartfelt letter to his daughter.
He wrote: “When you were only just conceived and we were eagerly awaiting seeing your little heart beating on an ultrasound, I remember thinking, as your father, of all the things I was going to teach and show you.
“I could never have imagined that in fact the opposite would be true and I, like your mother and brother, would be so grateful for the completely unforeseen journey, gifts and lessons you gave us.
“All of the things you taught us have made us better human beings and we refer to your lessons every day as we think of how, whilst we lost a piece of ourselves when you passed, we also gained a piece of you.”
He added: “I am so proud of your fight, resilience, ability to live in the moment and take all the pleasure from life that you could.
“I only hope that I can manage the same and make the most of the time that I have here also.”