Popular travel blogger Tuula Vintage has gone public with her money struggles, stemming from her baby daughter’s serious health issues.
The blogger, whose real name is Jessica Stein, gave birth to Rumi Willis Cooper on March 28 this year, following a complicated pregnancy. Rumi weighed just 2.03kg.
“She is the smallest human I have ever held, and she is the strongest human we will ever know,” Stein writes on a gofundme page.
Rumi was diagnosed with the rare disorder Mosaic Trisomy 2, with Maternal Uni Parental Disomy 2.
“Our genetic specialists at Sydney Children’s Hospital have told us that there are less than 10 cases in literature,” Stein adds. “There have been thousands of prenatal cases that all end in miscarriage, termination or stillbirth.”
Rumi is currently recovering from surgery at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, and Stein and her partner Pat are spending most of their time there, two hours away from their home on the NSW Central Coast.
“Unfortunately, all of our savings are long gone,” she explains. “We have already borrowed a few thousand from family to tide us over, but rent is due yet again and we currently have $202 between us. Pat and I haven’t been able to work due to caring for Ru around the clock.”
What would you do if your daughter was born with one of the rarest voices of all, and you had an international audience that could be open to listening? There are a whole world of people out there who live in similar, and much worse situations to ours without anyone to hear them. I have always been extremely private and had planned to keep my pregnancy and children offline, until they could make the choice themselves. But sometimes you make plans and life happens. We have struggled to decide if we should keep Ru and all her strengths and her battles to ourselves, or to share. To find anyone to relate. Maybe if we could help educate even just one person there would be more understanding… I started my blog as an outlet of personal distraction, hope and simply starting my life over after being hit by a car. Maybe all of this travelling and experiences with life were just building me up for something so much more. Maybe it’s not my voice that’s meant to be heard, but hers… Pat and I have started a @gofundme page to try and help us help our Ru. We have been trying our best to avoid asking for help throughout this tough twelve months, but there comes a point where we are running out of options. If you would like to contribute, or share we would be thankful beyond measure. Or if you’d just like to learn a tiny insight to our Ru and her incredible accomplishments and complexities please read here http://gofundme.com/our-little-warrior-rumi or through the link in my bio. ???? xx
Stein, who has 2.7 million followers on Instagram, has shared plenty of photos of her wanderings in beautiful parts of the world. But she hesitated before sharing Rumi’s story and her plea for support.
“I have always been extremely private and had planned to keep my pregnancy and children offline, until they could make the choice themselves,” she posted on Facebook. “But sometimes you make plans and life happens.
“We have been trying our best to avoid asking for help throughout this tough 12 months, but there comes a point where we are running out of options.”
Stein’s fundraising target was $100,000. That target was reached in less than a day.
The blogger and her partner are planning to use additional funds to help the carers of children with extremely rare disorders.
“Pat and I have spent a lot of time in hospitals meeting parents, carers and families of unwell kids,” she says. “Since sharing a little on Instagram I have been inundated with people from all over the world, expressing their empathy, support and similar situations.”
Rumi’s strengths and battles have made Stein take a new look at what she’s done in her life.
“I started my blog as an outlet of personal distraction, hope and simply starting my life over after being hit by a car. Maybe all of this travelling and experiences with life were just building me up for something so much more.
“Maybe it's not my voice that's meant to be heard, but hers...”
Mamamia has reached out to Stein for comment. You can check out the gofundme page, here.