A sobbing mum has told of her overwhelming agony at having to bury two of her children just years apart.
Karon Adkins, 43, feels as if she is in a “nightmare” after the deaths of daughter Leonie King, 13, and baby son Leon, who died aged 17 weeks.
Leonie, who was Karon’s ‘princess’, had severe cerebral palsy, was epileptic, blind and needed 24-hour care.
She died in her sleep at the family home in Blyth, Northumberland, last month after suffering from a viral infection and a high temperature.
The teen’s death comes almost 15 years after Karon buried son, Leon, reports Chronicle Live.
Karon said: “I feel as though this a nightmare and I’ll wake up and this won’t be real, but I know it is”.
The devoted mum-of-seven is arranging for a horse drawn carriage and sparkling purple coffin to carry Leonie to her final resting place, where she will join her little brother in Cowpen Cemetery graveyard.
Although Leonie was blind, she could see some things and her favourite colour was purple.
“Her coffin is sparkling purple glitter with a lilac satin lining,” Karon added.
“With her is her Hungry Caterpillar toy, her iPad and her two favourite teddies. She is dressed in her pyjamas and dressing gown. We want the day to be as special as the princess she was.”
The day will bring back devastating memories for Karon who buried son Leon – who Leonie was named after – in November 2004.
He was born with a rare genetic condition and spent just 10 days of his short life at home with his family.
The rest of his time was spread between intensive care units at Newcastle’s General Hospital and the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Wansbeck Hospital in Ashington.
Doctors were baffled by Leon’s condition and experts in Germany tested Karon and his father’s DNA to find the source of the illness.
It was confirmed that the youngster had a one-off mutation of an extremely rare genetic condition that affected his muscles and meant he couldn’t breathe alone.
Karon, who suffers a crumbling spine and is confined to a wheelchair, organised his funeral with a robot theme.
“When I saw his little casket go into the ground my knees just buckled,” she said.
Meanwhile it was in 2005 that Leonie was born, eight weeks premature and just one year after her brave mum lost baby Leon.
Karon was faced with more heartache after Leonie, who was only 3lbs when she was born, was diagnosed with a series of health complications, including bleeding lungs and an irregular heartbeat.
But she defied the odds and survived.
She spent nearly two months under the care of doctors in the special care baby unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and was diagnosed with complex conditions when she was around nine months old.
“When I lost Leon I named my daughter Leonie after him,” said Karon, who also has children Natalie, 21, Amy, 19, Zoe, 18, Lukas, 12 and six-year-old Maddison.
“Leonie’s birth helped me through Leon’s death. She helped me focus on her living.
“She was actually in the same bay as Leon in the intensive care baby unit at the RVI. In her first four weeks I lost count how many times I was told that she wouldn’t pull through.”
Leonie lived a happy life and loved classical music. She even built up a friendship with X Factor group G4 after meeting them through a charity.
The modern opera band recorded themselves singing in her memory and their moving video is being played at her funeral later this month.
Karon said: “She met G4 through the charity Out of Sight and they serenaded her on Valentine’s Day 2017 as well as having high tea with them in York on her 13th birthday.
“They have created a video of her in her memory and put it on singer Jonathan Ansell Official Facebook page and it has had over 17,000 views.”
Jonathan posted the video they made for Leonie saying: “It has always been wonderful to sing for Leonie and see her face light up. You will be sorely missed and certainly never forgotten by us all.
“I will always cherish the time we came to your house and sang for you and your friends in your living room. RIP xx”
Karon added: “Leonie had the biggest smile and everyone who met her just loved her. She was my princess but she will be with Leon now.”