Maisie Rocks: Mother urges people around the world to paint pebbles and hide them in her daughter's memory
A woman whose daughter died from leukemia three months short of her third birthday in September 2018, has come up with a creative and adventurous way to keep her memory alive and ensure she "travels around the world."
Julie Woods from Buckingham paints pebbles with intricate patterns and is asking others to "give Maisie adventures" by placing them in secret locations around the world, Daily Mail reports.
While some of Julie's stones have made it to Cornwall, others have been hidden in Sutton Coldfield and Warrington. Some people have offered to take the stones painted by Julie to Berlin, Croatia and Bulgaria so that Maisie can explore overseas and help to spread a smile when her stones are found.
While Julie has already painted dozens of stones in her beloved daughter's memory, she is asking others to decorate their own rocks and help spread Maisie's memory.
The mother said that little Maisie was a happy and active baby but her cancer diagnosis in March 2018 turned her life upside down.
"After five horrendous months which included chemotherapy, blood transfusions and lumbar punctures our little star was still so strong and smiling," she said. "Maisie had been in remission after being free from leukemia since May but just days before we were due to come home we found that the cancer had returned. It was very aggressive and as it returned following such intensive chemotherapy, no more treatment was available to her."
Maisie was surrounded by family when she passed away peacefully on September 2, 2018, in Helen House, Oxford.
According to Julie, Maisie was found to be neutropenic - meaning she was at a higher risk of contracting an infection - and so her mother couldn't take her home from the hospital during treatment.
"Her courses would last 4-5 weeks then we would get to go home for about 10 days before the next round," Julie said.
She explained in a Facebook post how she's still trying to be "as strong as Maisie was" six months on from her death.
"When we were admitted to the hospital, we were scared and in disbelief," Julie wrote. "Maisie, with her amazing spirit, just carried on and loved her time on Kamran’s ward. She loved the amazing staff, her nurses, our new family. As the anniversaries of Maisie’s passing and her funeral approached I was really struggling. I didn’t know how to get through these dates and to make the sort of decisions that no parent should ever have to face, and all the while still trying to live my life as our little girl would have wanted me to - the same way she did, which was to enjoy every day, no matter what it brought. So I had to do something, something that Maisie would have enjoyed," Julie wrote.
Julie said she wanted to honor her daughter's strength, positivity, and happiness, and started painting the rocks and sending them across the world.
"I hope that when they are found they’ll make someone smile and that they’ll be rehidden so Maisie can carry on spreading love and smiles," she wrote.
The next batch of rocks made by the mother is set to be taken to Blenheim Palace, where doctors who treated little Maisie are running for the Oxford Hospitals Charity on March 24.
Aside from honoring Maisie's fight, each rock given out that day will be dedicated to a nurse that cared for the child.