Danielle was 23 when her mother Rosa, aged 56, died from a rare form of gynaecological cancer in 2012. Rosa shared in the joy of Danielle completing her Bachelor of Education degree and encouraged her to follow her passion for teaching. Following Rosa's death, Danielle continued to pursue her teaching career in South Eastern Victoria.
As Danielle had such a close and special relationship with her mum, she felt as though her whole world had fallen apart and found it difficult to contemplate the finality associated with death. Not knowing anyone her own age that had also experienced the loss of a mother, left Danielle feeling very misunderstood and lonely. Danielle longed to connect with another woman who was in the same shoes as there was no support specific to losing a mother.
While riding the waves of grief, Danielle decided to invest her time and channel her energy into creating the support network she would have liked available and to change the path for future motherless daughters. In 2013, she reached out on an American Mother Loss Facebook page with the hopes of finding a Victorian based woman in the same shoes and who might share her vision to connect girls and women whose mothers have died. Victorian woman, Eloise Hughes responded and the two proceeded to meet where they discussed all things mother loss and the possibility of establishing a not for profit organisation - Motherless Daughters Australia was on its way.
Eloise was only 13 when her mother Janet, aged 47, passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack in 2002. Janet was on her way home from work and had stopped by the local florist to buy a bunch of flowers for her own Mother's birthday, when she went into cardiac arrest.
Eloise grew up living with her dad, step mum, two older brothers and step brother in Melbourne.
As a teenager, Eloise often longed to have her motherless life understood and supported by her fellow peers at an all girls school and also in the wider community. Eloise strongly believes that if a motherless daughters support network existed around the time of her Mother's passing, it may have helped to ease the pain and isolation.
Furthermore, she feels it may have helped to make the life changing transition from having a mother to not having a mother less alienating and more understood and supported. Meeting with Danielle made for an instant friendship and special connection that was truly unique. In 2014 Danielle was a bridesmaid in Eloise's wedding.
The opportunity to help create and establish Motherless Daughters Australia was an absolute dream come true for Eloise as its vision and ideas spoke strongly to her heart.
Eloise has faced many of life's milestones without her mum, but was fortunate enough to have had her maternal grandmother by her side supporting her for most of these milestones until 2020 when she passed away.
In 2020, Eloise became a first time mum to daughter, Matilda.