Self family at the ‘Laklinyeri’ Beach House

“You gifted our family with a wonderful first Christmas together in Australia we’ll cherish forever. We wish our Felix could have been here with us to enjoy all the fun things the ‘Laklinyeri’ Beach House has to offer,” Rebecca Self said.

When the concept of the ‘Laklinyeri’ Beach House was created it was always imagined the house would welcome families with children in palliative care or with complex medical needs.

However, the need for a special space where bereaved families could continue to grieve and heal was also identified. With its light-filled design and tranquil setting, the Beach House is an oasis for these beautiful families.

Donations made to the WCH Foundation fund family stays. We work closely with the families to create bespoke holidays to meet their wishes and needs.

Over Christmas 2020, Rebecca and Jamie, their son Liam, and extended family, stayed at the House.

Remembering Felix

Like many school leavers dream of doing, Rebecca started travelling the world at 19. She spent the last 15 years in Canada where she met Jamie and Liam was born.

Last year the family moved to Adelaide and Rebecca discovered she was pregnant shortly after.

“We did a Harmony Test and found out we were at high risk for Down syndrome. We were under the care of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Flinders at this stage,” Rebecca said.

“At my 28-week ultrasound they discovered our baby boy had a lot of fluid around his heart, lungs and under his skin. My doctor said, ‘I’m going to send this to some colleagues at the Women’s and Children’s and they’ll probably be in contact in a couple of days’. But they called me that afternoon and said, ‘You need to come and be admitted right now’.”

A couple of days later Felix was born on July 31 by C-Section. He went straight into the WCH’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and heartbreakingly passed away seven weeks later.

“It’s like we went through this really intense experience and then it was over. Some days it feels like it was a complete dream. He never came home with us and we never got to experience day-to-day home life with him. Some days it just feels like it didn’t happen at all and other days my emotions are really intense,” Rebecca said.

A few weeks after Felix’s death, Rebecca received a package from the Hospital’s Palliative Care Service with a note telling her about the Beach House. She applied to stay.

Mum and son.

Liam and Rebecca are pictured at the Urimbirra Wildlife Park. Photo credit: Kate Elmes. 

Christmas at the ‘Laklinyeri’ Beach House

“Our time at the Beach House was the first time we had stopped together as a family and spent quality time together since Felix’s death,” Rebecca said.

“The House is so much more than just walls, windows, beds and toys – it’s a place of memories, peace and joy.

“The way the home is laid out allows all the light to come in. Especially on a beautiful summer’s day, it is soul-renewing.

“The home and being on the lake are so quiet and tranquil. I had moments of opportunity to sit out on the deck with a cup of tea and just be, or just sit back watching the kids explore the house, or explore the yard, or play in the cubby house. These are all the things we don’t have at home.”

Rebecca and her family recognised the purpose-built nature of the Beach House.

“We got a true sense of what a blessing the home would be for other families. We didn’t have a need for all of the hydraulic lifts, and the bathtub and the medical equipment, but when you’re there you totally understand just how amazing it would be for a family who needed it.”

Rebecca expressed her appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to stay at the Beach House.

“Thank you for allowing us some time together to rest, to have fun and to heal a little. We’ve cherished our time here and we hope many families will continue to enjoy it in the future. Thank you for all you have given our family,” she said.

Dad and son with a koala.

Liam and Jamie enjoying Urimbirra Wildlife Park. Photo credit: Kate Elmes. 

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