Izzy was a 5-year-old girl, who was as bright as all the colours of the rainbow. As the middle child, between two brothers', she embraced all that sparkled and shined, although was equally happy playing with dinosaurs and trucks in the mud. She loved all animals, scaly, slimy, feathered, furred, and even fanciful, in her eyes everything deserved love. She had an infectious giggle that warmed any heart and wouldn't shy away from an exciting adventure.
At the age of 4, Izzy was diagnosed with the most deadly of all childhood cancers - Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). DIPG is a type of brain tumour with no cure and due to its nature, cannot be operated on. With the average survival rate of only 9 months, it is a devastating disease for those children and families impacted by it.
Izzy showed immense bravery for a little girl of her age, enduring radiation treatment, brain surgery, numerous blood tests and scans, yucky medicines, hospital visits, extended periods away from home, and clinical trials. These treatments gave her and her family an extension of time to build many happy memories together, however none could give her the full life she deserved.
In August 2021, Izzy passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by her family.
Izzy was generous of heart and gave so much joy and love to those around her. Anyone who knew her were gifted with an appreciation of life and all its beauty.
The Natopia Team met the Wilkinson family in 2022 at Bluesfest in Byron Bay. Sarah, Izzy’s mum came into the stall, excited to share with us her connection to our bright and colourful leggings. What she told us though brought a tear to our eye, as what she shared touched our hearts immensely. Izzy’s mum calls our pants her ‘happy pants’, as the patterns she wears remind her of her beautiful daughter. A friend had gifted her two pairs covered in rainbows and unicorns, as something to wear when she is feeling a little down and missing her girl. Nat was so touched by this story, she wanted to help in some way, so the Izzy range idea was formed.
The designs, chosen by Izzy’s Mum, Dad and two brothers, were just what Izzy would have wanted. She loved ‘corns’ of any type - Unicorns, Kitty-corns, Llama-corns and even created her own guinea-corn (which her uncle has tattooed on his arm).
Through much of her cancer journey, ‘corns’ played a big part in giving Izzy and her family the hope and courage they needed to get through even the hardest of days. One of those days was not long after arriving in Sydney Children’s Hospital. Izzy had to undergo a highly risky brain surgery, so that a biopsy could be taken of her tumor. This would help the doctors determine a diagnosis and treatment plan for Izzy. The surgery went well; however, Izzy woke feeling pretty miserable and sore. She had been sent a Llama-corn from a friend, which she took comfort from. It's snuggles gave her the strength and courage to bounce back. Llama-corns always bring a smile to the Wilkinson families faces, reminding them to always be brave no matter the challenge they were faced.
In the final weeks before Izzy passed away, she had the opportunity to meet the queen of all the ‘corns’ - a unicorn. She had heard that if you believe with all your heart a real unicorn would come to visit. She wished with all her might every day for a unicorn to come. Each day, the unicorn would visit staying out of sight, but left little glittery balls of unicorn poo behind. Finally, the day came when the unicorn was brave enough to say hello. Izzy fell in love at first sight and couldn’t believe how lucky she was. The unicorn even let her ride on her back. It was a truly special day and a treasured memory for the whole family.
To honour her life and memory, her family want to raise as much money as possible to find a cure for DIPG. A cure is out there, and the Children's Cancer Institute are working hard every day to find it.
We are donating $10 for each pair of leggings sold, towards the DIPG research program, helping give hope to children like Izzy.