Keeping Sienna with us forever

Leah-Grace Booth and Sienna Smith
Leah-Grace Booth and Sienna Smith

A kind six-year-old is raising money to buy a memorial bench for her cousin who died aged 11 weeks old.

Matthew and Joanne Smith’s daughter Sienna was born six weeks premature and she suffered from seizures.

They caused her difficulties with her breathing and after the seizures became more frequent and severe, Sienna died in her mum’s arms last October.

Now the couple’s niece, Leah-Grace Booth, hopes to raise £1,188 to buy a memorial bench by running in the Gawthorpe Maypole coal race.

Mrs Smith, 32, of East Ardsley, said: “Sienna was a beautiful, strong and determined little girl who fought every day of her life to survive. We hope the bench will keep her memory alive and keep her with us.

“Leah-Grace has been absolutely fantastic. She is so thoughtful and caring and we are proud of what she’s doing.”

Sienna was born early at St James’ Hospital last July and she was rushed to the neo-natal unit for specialist care.

A month later she began suffering from seizures and doctors feared she did not have long to live.

Sienna was transferred to Leeds General Infirmary and within eight weeks she had two MRI scans, three blood transfusions, two lumbar punctures and daily blood tests. After consulting the medical team the family took their daughter home.

Her parents were then introduced to Martin House Children’s Hospice.

Mrs Smith said: “They have been very compassionate as have our family and friends.

“We went to them for advice on how to tell my step-daughter, 11-year-old Alicia Smith, that her baby sister who she had waited so anxiously to meet did not have long to live.

“With their help we were able to set plans in place following Sienna’s passing so she could have her own bedroom at the hospice.”

On Monday, October 6 Sienna was taken to Martin House where she had two seizures and passed away.

Mrs Smith said: “The pain is unimaginable. There is a feeling of emptiness and a void in our lives that nothing and no-one will ever be able to fill. We long to have her back.”

To pay tribute to her cousin, Miss Booth will take part in the Gawthorpe Maypole children’s race on Monday, April 6.

Through sponsorship from friends and family, she hopes to raise £1,188 to buy the memorial bench, which will be put in Outwood Cemetery where Sienna is buried.