For Ashley Denness, 2023 was the best year of her life.
After having met Lindsay Emmerson in August 2022, she knew he was "the man of her dreams," according to her mum, Debbie Ngeru. Ashley couldn’t wait to marry him one day. A lover of all things glamourous, she'd envisaged a day fit for a princess.
The couple had recently moved in together, and were carving out their perfect life. Ashley had recently started a new job too, with the Newborn and Paediatric Emergency Transport Service, helping New South Wales’ most vulnerable babies.
She was looking forward to the year ahead.
Watch: Routine Genetic Carrier Screening. Post continues after the video.
On Christmas Eve, Ashley and Lindsay flew to the Whitsundays, where she would meet her partner’s father, and take part in a family 'crabbing' session. As the group trudged through the mangroves, looking for their next catch, 34-year-old Ashley collapsed.
Someone called an ambulance, which arrived quickly to transport Ashley to Proserpine Hospital. En route, Ashley suffered a cardiac arrest. Paramedics swung into action, successfully resuscitating her. But before they arrived at the hospital, Ashley arrested again. While medical staff did everything they could, the young, vivacious woman — on the cusp of the next, exciting stage of her life — passed away.