Ireland Couple raises €250k in an hour on Late Late as they share pain of losing baby

08:40  25 january  2020
08:40  25 january  2020 Source:   evoke.ie

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a group of people sitting at a table © Provided by Evoke.ie

Ryan Tubridy has had to talk about death and grief a lot in the last few months. He has hosted some difficult Late Late Show segments recently including tributes to Gay Byrne, Larry Gogan and Marian Finucane, not to mention an interview with the family of Brendan Grace. 

And while he usually maintains his composure throughout these difficult interviews, his talk with Munster player Billy Holland and his wife Lanlih about losing a baby had him unusually close to tears. 

The couple welcomed their daughter Emmeline in January 2019, but sadly she was taken from them just a few months later on 18 May.

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Ryan Tubridy wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Evoke.ie

Still so raw, this was the first time that Billy spoke publicly about the family’s loss but was willing to do so in the hope of raising money for Crumlin Children’s Hospital which had cared for his daughter while she was alive.

Billy made his debut for Munster in 2007. The Cork native studied in UCC and made his debut for Munster in 2007, being nominated for Munster Player Of The Year in 2015 and 2016.

The couple got married in summer 2017 and when they found out they were expecting their first child they said it was a dream come true.

But there was to be a devastating twist in their love story. When the couple went for their anomaly scan at 20 weeks, they were informed that their baby had a heart defect.

a man and a woman holding a baby: losing baby © Provided by Evoke.ie losing baby

However, they were told by the medical team that it was something fixable which gave them hope.

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‘We were nervous coming up to the birth. When Emmeline was born her heart was better than expected,’ said Billy.

However at 10 days old doctors weren’t happy with her progress and Lanlih said they got more devastating news after tests were done. ‘At three weeks old we were told “I’m sorry, but your baby is not going to survive very long.”‘

Despite this Emmeline started to get bigger and stronger. ‘Genetics doctors had figured out what was wrong and it was a game changer in terms of hope as it meant that she could live a long life. she was going to have physical and mental disabilities but we didn’t care. This was the best news,’ revealed Billy.

a man and a woman smiling for the camera: losing baby © Provided by Evoke.ie losing baby

‘It was just a dream for us to get her home. Going out for walks with her was such a luxury. She was thriving.’

At five months old Emmeline went up to Crumlin for minor heart surgery. ‘She came out the far end so it was an incredible feeling for us. About a week later we had her bags packed due to go home, and she took a turn the night before we were supposed to go home. About 10 days later she died in Lanlih’s arms. It was the rawest emotion imaginable and it’s impossible to put into words to be honest.’

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As Lanlih and Billy described how they concentrated on making every day of Emmeline’s short life feel full of love, Ryan was visibly moved to tears.

a woman brushing her hair in front of a curtain: Lanlih with her baby. Pic: Instagram © Provided by Evoke.ie Lanlih with her baby. Pic: Instagram

Lanlih’s described what it was like in the aftermath of losing Emmeline: ‘No one should have to face what we had to face, picking out her coffin and her grave plot. When we got home there had been so much activity. There were nurses in and out. We had her oxygen machine on. Now it was just silent and it was unbearable. Honestly my body still longs for her, the weight of her. It’s overwhelming sometimes.’

Billy and Lanlih did have some good news for those who were moved by their brave story, as they revealed that they are expecting a little brother or sister for Emmeline next month.

The couple’s heartbreaking story of losing a baby clearly touched not just the RTE presenter but all those at home watching as well.

Billy Holland et al. smiling for the camera: Munster rugby player Billy Holland and his wife Lanlih. Pic: Instagram © Provided by Evoke.ie Munster rugby player Billy Holland and his wife Lanlih. Pic: Instagram

They called on viewers to donate whatever they could to help Crumlin Hospital through the gofundme page Brave Like Emmeline Holland that they had set up. Their hope is that it will help someone who finds themselves in their position and maybe prevent them from knowing the loss of losing a baby too.

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In just over an hour donations had jumped from the starting point of €19k, before their appearance, to over €250k – completely surpassing their target of €100k.

Viewers flocked to show their support on Twitter with some even sharing their own Crumlin photo alongside the link to donate. 

The funds raised will go to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Cork University Hospital (Children’s wards) and the Ronald McDonald House. If you would like to donate you can do so here


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