Catherine Hughes and her family have been fighting for vaccine awareness since their baby Riley passed away in March 2015 from whooping cough at just 32 days old.

Today should have been Riley’s second birthday.

Riley’s dad has shared a beautiful tribute on the Light for Riley Facebook page.

He wrote…

“If it hadn’t been for whooping cough, today you would have turned two.

I vividly remember the day you entered the world. You were so wanted, so loved and so incredibly important to all our future plans. We had no idea that just 32 days later we would planning your funeral.

We are all so immensely proud at what you’ve achieved. You leave behind such an enormous legacy, but with that too is an enormous hole in our lives that still devastates us. Even now as I sit typing this out, tears streaming down my face, I look over at your mum shedding tears as she feeds your little sister, I look at your big sister writing you a card that she demands be sent to heaven today on a heart shaped balloon and I selfishly yearn for just one more interaction. Just one more cuddle. I’d even take just one more nappy change.

I’ll never know just how many lives you’ve saved, but in my mind you’ve made society a far better place. It doesn’t remove our hurt, but I’m grateful that all the other mums and dads in this country can squeeze their little ones and know they have access to the most advanced preventative measures available when it comes to fighting whooping cough. In my mind it’ll always be because of the little boy in the blue and white hat.

You were simply too perfect for this world.

Happy Birthday brave boy, we love you

-Daddy, Mummy, O & L”

Happy Birthday little one, your legacy will live on for years to come. Your parents will never stop the fight.

Share your comments below.

Image via Facebook

  • that is sad that the whole family has to deal with this. Especially a sibling who doesn’t understand what it all REALLY means.


  • I love Rileys family. They’ve suffered do much pain themselves but are still putting themselves out there spreading the word on the importance of vaccinations


  • Happy birthday Riley. I hope your story will continue to show people the importance of immunization, it’s not just for our own children and families but for all of those around us.


  • What a beautiful letter written under such sad circumstances. I pray this family find comfort in knowing their beautiful little boy made a difference in this world.


  • A tragedy of a life lost because somebody’s bad choice. It must be so difficult for his parents and his sister to handle Riley’s birthday destroyed by disease that never shoould have occured.


  • I know the agony of loss. It would be some comfort to know others remember him too.


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