Bereaved father pens children’s book in memory of daughter

A father whose daughter died at the age of 13 has written a children’s book in her memory.

In 2015, Sophie Byrne died peacefully in her mummy’s arms and holding her daddy’s hand, at our hospice.

Sophie was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis – a genetic disease that causes non-cancerous growths to form in the brain and other organs, at 10 weeks old.

She had two slow-growing, non-cancerous tumours in her brain which couldn’t be operated on. It meant that she was having around 70 to 100 epileptic fits a day. Sophie was also partially sighted and was unable to communicate.

Throughout her life, Sophie was cared for, and her family received support from, our charity.

Over the years, parents Matt Byrne and Jane Rushton, have raised funds for us in many different ways. Matt, who is an HR consultant, decided his latest venture would be to write a children’s book – something he had never attempted before.

The book, Why the Sky is Blue, has now been published and proceeds from its sales will go to our charity because we have been so prominent in his family’s life.

“Rainbows has been very important to me and our family,” said Matt (50), of Derbyshire. “Rainbows was so significant in my life at that time and it still is now. I do go to the hospice occasionally to the Remembrance Garden and I know Rainbows is always there for us if we need it.”

The idea for Why the Sky is Blue came from Matt’s friend, Sam Dale. Matt then turned the concept in to the charming story aimed at children aged four to eight-years-old and it was illustrated by another friend of ours, Sarah Lovell.

“I have never written anything like this before. I hope it will be popular,” added Matt. “I really enjoyed writing it and to see it produced is wonderful.

“I thought it was a nice story, and if it did make money for Rainbows, that would be great. Sophie loved Rainbows. She was very happy when she went there and was pampered all of the time. We all have lots of good memories at Rainbows.”

We also provided care to Matt’s wife, Nina, and daughters Lydia (11) and Madeline (eight), as well as Jane’s husband, Phil, and their children Oliver (10) and Bertie (eight).

Jenny Perry, Rainbows Community Fundraiser, added: “This really is a lovely story and it is wonderful that Matt has written this book in memory of Sophie and for Rainbows. Supporters like Matt make all the difference to the services that our charity provides to hundreds of families and we thank him from the bottom of our hearts.”

Why the Sky is Blue is available from Amazon, Waterstones and in all of our shops.