When Rachael Casella and her husband Jonathan welcomed their baby daughter Mackenzie in March, 2017, they couldn’t have been happier.
She was perfect.
After miscarrying their first child, Rachael had been expecting the worst during her second pregnancy. But the moment Mackenzie was born, she breathed a sigh of relief.
It wasn’t until Mackenzie was 10 weeks old that there was any indication something was wrong.
Concerned that her daughter was crying at the end of each feed, Rachael went to see a lactation consultant. While the consultant said there was no problem with Mackenzie’s feeding, she mentioned that she seemed ‘floppy’. At first, Rachael dismissed the comment, but when she looked over at a baby boy, roughly the same age as her daughter, who was on his tummy with his chest off the ground, she had a sinking feeling. Her baby didn’t do that.
Two days later, a paediatrician told the new parents he believed Mackenzie had spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a terminal condition with no cure. Rachael and Jonathan would later learn their daughter had the most severe form.
In October, 2017, Mackenzie came down with a cold. Her lungs and breathing muscles weren’t strong enough to help her clear the mucus. Four days later, she passed away, lying between her parents in a hospital bed.
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Last Wednesday our beautiful daughter Mackenzie suddenly fell ill. For four days she fought like a warrior. Yesterday Mackenzie passed away peacefully laying between us surrounded by love and her favorite music. Our baby girl is gone. Our world has lost its brightness and colour. Instead our shooting star will be now and forever lighting up the sky. We are lost without you. Our world has no direction. We love you. We miss you. Thank you. #mackenziesmemories #changeformackenzie
Almost a year after the saddest day of their lives, Rachael and Jonathan are now dealing with a sickening issue no one should have to.
On Tuesday, the Sydney woman posted to Instagram, sharing that for the past three weeks, she’s been trying to shut down Russian Instagram accounts “impersonating my beautiful deceased daughter in order to scam people out of money”.
“They have taken photos and images of me, my husband, my parents and most importantly our beautiful baby girl Mackenzie,” she wrote.
“They call her Sophie and ask people for money to help her. Many people have lost money believing they are doing something kind.
“I have reported this abuse of a child’s image to @Instagram on more than 50 occasions. My family and followers have also reported these scams. The result has been abysmal. In most cases Instagram have not responded. In some cases they have responded and have deleted the accounts, however, the very next day they are reactivated or had a name change.