Munster Rugby's Billy Holland and his wife, Lanlih, were special guests on last night's Late Late Show where they spoke powerfully about their daughter, Emmeline, who died last year.
Speaking to Ryan Tubridy, they recounted the journey that led to the death of their six-month-old baby after she was born with a heart defect the previous November. The couple are currently in the process of raising money for Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin, the children's wards at Cork University Hospital and Ronald McDonald House in memory of their daughter who passed away in May. So far, they have raised nearly €300,000.
Munster rugby player @billyholland & his wife Lanlih on the huge support from Crumlin's medical teams for their daughter Emmeline who passed away aged just 6 months. They are fundraising in honour of their brave baby girl: https://t.co/SFCbSzW1eL #BravelikeEmmeline #LateLate pic.twitter.com/aC2mlEyDVR
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) January 24, 2020
The Munster lock eloquently spoke of the travails his family had to endure, detailing the days in the lead-up to Emmeline's death last May.
We went back up to Crumlin and she had a minor heart procedure surgery," he said. "It was a massive thing for Emmeline
I suppose she was strong enough to go through surgery and she did. She had the surgery, came out the far end of it. It was the biggest hurdle to get over and it was an incredible feeling for us because we were so nervous going into that.
About a week later we had our bags packed and we were ready to go home. She took a turn the night before we were due to go home. Most of my clothes were back in Cork.
And she went into ICU from there. Ten days later, she died in Lanlih's arms. It was just the rawest emotion imaginable. It's impossible to put into words to be honest with you.
Emmeline's mother also shared the couple's experiences when returning to their home in Cork, where beforehand there was "so much activity."
"There was nurses in and out," she said. "We had her oxygen machine on. And now it was just silence.
When the machines were turned off it was just silence. It was unbearable silence. Honestly, my body still longs for her, physically longs for her, the weight of her, holding her, to kiss her, to cuddle her. It's overwhelming at times.
You can donate to the Emmeline Holland fund here.