Friday 2 October 2020

Guest Blog - Leo's Story by Megan Firster


Everyone who knows me is aware of my love for and connection to Queensland’s only children’s hospice. I wear my hummingbird tattoo proudly, in memory of my beautiful boy but also as a living tribute to the place that supported him and our family throughout some of the happiest and darkest times. 

So, of course, when it was put to Hummingbird House families to create a picture that could possibly be used as a token for the Coles fundraising campaign I jumped at the chance. We did have a logistical issue with the brief though. We were asked to create a hummingbird that represented our child, perhaps by using their hand and footprints, but of course my child wasn’t here to squish his little hand into the paint. To trace around his perfect foot with a felt pen. After some discussion regarding the brief we were supported to do as much of the picture digitally as we needed to to include Leo in the way we wished to.

After some assessment we realised Leo’s best footprint was one that was taken by Leo’s kindy teacher as part of my last mother’s day gift, and his best handprints were the ones taken by a caring staff member, at Hummingbird House after his passing. Leo liked to curl his fingers into the palm of his hand so they were the first really nice ones we had. 

Leo’s prints were monochrome, so my son Sam, who is my tech support for everything, coloured Leo’s prints digitally to make it look like he had applied the paint to the paper directly. I printed a bunch of them and we all sat down as a family to paint and draw hummingbird bodies in between the handprint wings. Frances, my daughter, is the artist in my family and her hummingbird came more and more to life with every brushstroke. I can’t tell you how elated I was that our picture was chosen, and how proud I am that Leo is continuing on in a way that not only helps raise money for the house, but also represents the bereaved families that are a part of this special service. 



Nobody likes to talk about children that have passed or will pass before their time. It’s a sad subject, but one that is so real and so raw for the families that use this place as a sanctuary. It is so important that this facility remains, and keeps providing all the wonderful services it provides, and to do that fundraisers like the Coles one are so very important. 

For many families Hummingbird House gives them air – allows them to take a breath when they are living a life that allows no time and space for one. For other families it is a place to remember their child or to make memories with them in their final days. We were blessed to be able to appreciate all of these aspects of the house. We had so many wonderful family memories, laughs over home cooked meals and time engaging with other families going through similar trials and challenges. Hummingbird House was also the place where Leo had his last bath. Devoured his last mouthful of chocolate mousse. Enjoyed his last swim. Was wrapped in my arms for his last cuddle. 

Hummingbird House is a unique space for families of palliative children. There’s no other place in Queensland that offers the range of services that they do and they need your help. Please go to Coles between the 16th of September and the 13th of October and buy a token. I promise it will make all the difference to a family just like ours.

To find out more about this year's fundraiser, visit:






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