Catherine Hughes has wrote a heart felt post to her baby boy Riley who passed away last year from whooping cough.

It’s a bitter sweet month for Riley’s family. They recently shared the exciting news of baby number three due later this year. It is also the month that they should be celebrating little Riley’s first birthday.

Catherine has posted a message on the Light for Riley facebook page to commemorate her son.

riley newborn

Dear Riley,

 Tomorrow we are meant to celebrate your first birthday.

 It will be very different from the way we’d pictured it when you were born.

 Tomorrow is not about whooping cough, it’s not about immunisation, it’s not about how you died or how it could have been prevented.

 It’s about remembering the time we had with you; the incredible day you were placed into our arms, the late-night & early-morning breastfeeds, the grunting instead of crying, the nappy-changing tricks we had to learn to avoid ‘surprise showers’, the family snuggles, the intense gazing at your sister, the short walks in the sunshine to the jetty, the first time I looked into your eyes and fell in love, the soft hair on your head, your smooth skin, and the joy we felt every time we held you.

 I’m posting this today because I don’t know how we will cope tomorrow. How can we celebrate when we miss you so much??

 All our love,
 Mum & Dad xxxxxxxxxx

baby riley

Catherine has told the ABC that something needed to be done to target “belief systems: undermining the vaccination effort.”

“I think greater education is needed in schools,” she said. “Losing Riley was the worst thing we’ve ever experienced, and it doesn’t need to happen,” Catherine said.

“Watching your baby gasp for breath and being told your baby isn’t going to make it, … it doesn’t need to happen.

“There is prevention available. [It was] not something that I was offered but now every woman in Australia has access to pregnancy vaccination, which means the babies are born fairly protected [from] the disease.”

So heart breaking. I really hope they got to remember him dearly in a special way.

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  • As I brush back tears a silent prayer is whispered .. thinking of you sweet angel.
    RIP darling little Riley. x


  • Such a tough time for this family. My thoughts awe with them


  • Absolutely heartbreaking. What a precious baby boy. Good on Catherine for bringing attention to this cause. RIP baby Riley x


  • So sad that they lost their precious angel in this way. I admire this mum for finding courage in her time of sorrow to help others prevent this happening again.


  • Poor Riley. What the parents are doing is so important. I hope nobody will loose a baby for the whooping cough again.


  • A tragedy that should never occured. Ignorance can impose of the life of others. I feel so sad for this family. They have good memories but sad ones outweigh them.

    • yes and it will always be bitter sweet to think of this poor baby


  • The first birthday is the worst, but every one will be hard.


  • I cannot begin to comprehend how hard it must be for this mother. So glad she is being string enough to advocate for vaccination in the way she is. Highly admirable.


  • It truely is heartbreaking. These parents need to be celebrated for having the strength to campaign against childhood preventable diseases.


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