Dear friends of Helèna, Lara and BestLife,

“It’s a love story.”

That’s what acclaimed Brisbane author Trent Dalton said last year about Helèna’s life. And he’s absolutely right.

Our Heléna… warm like the sun, gentle, kind yet intelligent and strong. Heléna, a protective and loving older sister to her adorable Sophia… is forever in our hearts.  An old head on young shoulders, Helèna loved people… anyone a bit different, she loved even more. An inclusive, loving community – that’s what Helèna wanted for her city, Brisbane.

Everyone knows someone living with a disability – someone to include, to love. Helèna did something about it…

Helèna loved Lara and accepted everyone whatever their ability. That is why Helèna’s House is so important to us. Every child deserves to be loved and respected like Helèna loved Lara. She would be 22 now. It’s still hard getting up most days for us as a family, knowing she’s not here with us. But in every star in the sky, every BestLife ‘bestie’ friendship, we see Helèna. Her personal motto rings in our ears…

“Smash out the day and live your best life.”

Not enough support for young adults to live independently! That was the last conversation Helèna’s had with her dad. Her final, passionate lament.

Helèna’s no longer with us. But you are. With you beside us, Helèna’s House will be our daughter’s, our sister’s dream come true. More than a house, it’s an overnight adventure. A weekend getaway. A right of passage to more independence. An inclusive place to belong. Most of all, it’s a place of laughter, tears, joy, inclusion… love.

Thank you for helping to bring Helèna’s legacy to life for those like Lara. More than a lament, more than a dream. Take a moment to walk outside. Look up. See the stars. See the sun. See Helèna.

We love you, Helèna.

Thank you for loving her, too.

Eric, Fiona and Sophia McIlwain