Lulu & Levi is about Families coming together to celebrate and support each other. It started out as an idea to create a Community of Family for those that may not have strong support circles. A way to encourage people to spend more time together, turning the mundane everyday stuff into something magic and memorable.
We want to help families get through their toughest days so they can enjoy the brighter ones. To help them come together as much as possible and to spend as many precious moments together as they can. We want them to remember the laughter, the smiles, the happy tears, the jokes, the funny things their kids said, the people who make their lives magical.
This is our why. It’s why we do what we do. It’s why we make the type of jewellery we make; it’s why we are constantly saying to enjoy the precious moments. That message is my life ethos, it’s what makes me get out of bed any day that I can. I don’t remember the day Poppy took her first steps or said her first word, but I do remember the snuggles on the couch, reading stories. Our movie nights with everyone snuggled up in my bed when I was too sick to get up. I treasure the days of Jacob sitting with me and telling me all about some random cartoon he watched or story he made up. Those are my most precious memories. Those are what glisten and shine from my own pieces of jewellery.
This is why we have partnered with three of the most amazing Family focussed Charities. The Marie Keating Foundation, The Solas Centre, and Barretstown. All three of these Charities have one common theme, they all help so many Families come to terms with illness becoming part of their lives.
Three and a half years ago I got Sepsis while Pregnant with Poppy Lou. It’s an experience I never want to endure ever again. She was delivered 4 weeks early by c section and everything seemed fine but within 48 hours I started to rapidly deteriorate.
My sepsis journey has been quite different to the usual. I was already on antibiotics for a long-term condition I have had since birth. This slowed the pace at which this infection usually attacks your system and covered up some of the symptoms. It also meant that doctors assumed it was my own condition just acting up and therefore it went undiscovered for a really long time slowly attacking my body until it finally showed up in my bloodstream.
I ended up having a harrowing experience which went on for initially 8 weeks in hospital, fighting to stay alive. I continued that fight to survive for the next three years.
I was hospitalised for 44 weeks out of 52 and then when I finally came home, I was a stranger to my baby girl. I was disconnected from my family. I had people around me monitoring me constantly, watching my every move. I was a prisoner of my state of mind. I struggled for a long time to come to terms with how much my life had changed and would remain changed forever.
While all this was going on for me, Poppy Lou and Jacob were struggling. Jacobs medical condition had been discovered previously but Poppy was undergoing similar issues which later revealed that both of my kids have a long-term condition similar to mine that may deteriorate. In fact, both myself and Poppy were in hospital at the same time. As she was only a baby Mark had to stay with her, leaving Jacob (in his mind) alone, so much so that he hid under my hospital bed so he could stay with all of us and said “The nurses won’t know cos I’ll be really quiet”. Yes, my heart broke and broke again so many times throughout this journey.
However, we were extremely lucky to be surrounded by such amazing family and friends and to live in such a community of people who bond together when someone is in need. During this fateful journey Mark was trying so hard to look after us all and be with us as much as possible that he lost his job. Our family, friends, our community, work colleagues and even strangers came together to create a fund for us. They helped us keep a roof over our head, helped me come home to my kids, to have time to re-connect as a family and to rebuild our lives.
Why am I sharing this story? Because it is not as unique as you might think. There are so many others going through something awful right now that may not be willing to tell their story, that may not be willing to ask for help. I get it, I was completely embarrassed at the time, I felt my dignity was taken, I was ashamed to have no choice but to take the help.
But the whole experience has given us a new perspective, a new way of life, and a new ethos. We want to support as many people as we can who are going through similar experiences, of loss, of grief, of disbelief, of strength, of finding a new way, of rehabilitating their lives.
All three of these charities do amazing work every day.
The Marie Keating Foundation amongst everything else they do, help people with early detection of so many cancers. They support families going through their cancer journey in any way they can because they once went through the same thing. They understand the whole family needs support on their journey not just the patient and they understand that both need different kinds of support.
The Solas Centre cancer support centre, is local to us and because so many local people in our own community, supported us during our hour of need, we hoped that by giving to The Solas Centre, we could say Thank you and support them if they ever need it. Again, Solas supports the whole family during and after their cancer journey. They understand that it’s not just medical care and support that’s needed but other therapies are provided to help people cope with the changes to their lives.
Finally, Barretstown, I’m not sure If I can stress enough how important Barretstowns work is. I once was one of those Children who spent most of my childhood in hospital, I made some of my best friends in hospital. Some I still have today and sadly lost some along the way. I only wish Barretstown was around when I was younger. Barretstown offers an escape to children and their families. It offers them opportunities to bond with others who have similar stories, it helps children build confidence despite their illness. It helps them leave their stresses at the door if only for a little while. It builds a family like community. It helps children living with illnesses, have fun, run wild, laugh a lot, play, make new friends and just do kids’ stuff and for a little while it takes their stresses and the families stress away.
For the next Year at least 10% of ALL purchases go to these three amazing, family focused, Charities and we hope to continue this initiative for many years to come hoping it will continue to grow so that we can help support as many people as possible just by doing what we love.
To Shop our Collections and Donate do to www.luluandlevi.com
If you know someone who might benefit from one of these charities, or who might like to volunteer with them please check out the links below to find out more about these three charities.