News Good News Fashion blogger’s heart-wrenching plea for her baby gets huge response

Fashion blogger’s heart-wrenching plea for her baby gets huge response

tuula vintage baby
Jessica Stein and her husband Pat have made a public plea for help, admitting they have no savings left. Photo: Instagram
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More commonly known as Tuula Vintage, hugely popular blogger Jessica Stein’s 2.7 million-plus Instagram followers used to follow her for fashion tips, food pics and to trace her and husband Pat’s footloose world travels.

But these days they’re gripped by news of the progress of their beautiful baby daughter Rumi and have overwhelmingly supported the family financially in their hour of need.

Born in March this year and weighing only 2.03kgs, Rumi has an extremely rare chromosome disorder, Mosaic Trisomy 2. With thousands of babies not making it full-term, there are only ten recorded cases of those born with the condition. Symptoms can include growth and motor delay, intellectual disability, deafness and congenital heart defects.

As a result, Rumi’s dedicated medical team includes paediatricians as well as experts in genetics, immunology, gastro, renal, orthopaedics, dietetics and speech pathology. None of this comes cheap, including travelling to and from Sydney’s Children’s Hospital from their home on the Gold Coast.

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 or through the link in my bio. 🌻 xx

A post shared by Jessica Stein (@tuulavintage) on

On Monday Stein made the difficult decision to call for help publicly, starting a GoFundMe campaign asking for $100,000.

Stein acknowledged the embarrassment she felt but revealed that their a savings had disappeared, family had given all they could and neither she nor Pat were able to work.

“We feel extremely lucky that we do have a roof over our heads, a small car to share and charities helping us with accommodation while living here in Hospital,” she wrote on Instagram.

“We are even luckier to live in a country like Australia who provides such incredible public health care.

“Ru’s health is invaluable and all of the money in the world couldn’t change her diagnosis and the uncertainty of it, but we would love to be able to afford more specialised care and opportunities for her.”

At of the time of writing Rumi’s supporters had raised more than twice that amount at $230,869.

“We are in complete shock,” Stein wrote on Instagram.

“The heavy knot that has been in the pit of my stomach for months on end is now lodged in my throat; I am lost for words that will ever carry the weight of what this means to us.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Stein has been admirably open about the difficult journey her family has faced since before Rumi was even born. Involved in a car crash when she was just 16 years old, Stein sustained internal injuries that meant it was very unlikely she would fall pregnant.

Then in February this year Stein shared a beautiful blog post picturing her and Pat silhouetted on a beach, showing off her pregnancy bump, but with a sobering message attached.

Her previous injuries meant that her waters broke at the 20-week mark necessitating bed rest, and Stein faced mental health issues too.

“I have been struggling with antenatal depression and hope that speaking out might just help heal myself, and someone else too,” she announced.

“I don’t know the words to describe how hopeless I felt… not being able to control my own body, provide for my baby or see hope that we would make it through. Despite my partner being a rock of support and positivity, I have found these last few months to be some of the loneliest of my life.”

Now, Stein and her husband have vowed to “do our very best to pay this overwhelming generosity forward” as they continue on their journey to keep Ru healthy.

“How amazing that a community can come together to change lives,” she wrote.

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