Parents of 'real-life superhero' heal by helping others with sick kids

Isla Short's life was brief, but her impact was strong.

'We are just still finding our new normal,' says mom of toddler who died in November

Isla's parents, Michael and Sarah, say their daughter was a bright light who loved people. (Submitted)

The family of a three-year-old Deer Lake girl who died of cancer is channeling their grief and love to help other families with critically-ill kids. 

"We've been really focused on getting this foundation up and running so I think that's been really helpful in our healing," said Sarah Short.

"We are just still finding our new normal but still moving forward."

Short's daughter, Isla, died in November. She had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that forms in certain kinds of nerve tissue.The toddler had been battling the disease since she was just a year old. 

Her mom has recently taken on a new role — director of the Islaview Foundation. 

It is entirely volunteer-based and all money raised will go directly to families of children with life-threatening illnesses. 

Three-year-old Isla Short, with her mom and dad Sarah and Michael. (Submitted by Sarah Short )

"When you're going through a journey you shouldn't have to worry about your finances ... we had enough worries of our own going through the treatment with Isla so we just make to sure we can help other families," Short told CBC's Corner Brook Morning Show. 

She recalled how friends, businesses and the town stepped up for her and her husband, Michael, when Isla's treatment took them away from home, including to St. John's and Toronto. 

"The Isla Foundation is not just going to be financial support, it's going to be emotional support as well," said Short. 

'This bright light'

Short credits her daughter's compassion as the driving force behind the initiative. 

"A real-life superhero who loved people," is how Isla is described on the group's Facebook page.

"Isla was this bright light and she always just wanted to love somebody and she just cared so much about everybody ... She loved even the staff at the Janeway," said her mom.

Money raised will go directly to other families who have children that are critically sick. (Islaview Foundation/Facebook)

In her honour, the town of Deer Lake became "Islaview" — pronounced as I love you — for one day last May.

Short said another "Islaview" day is planned for May and will consist of "a full day of activities to show kindness and compassion," wrapping up with a benefit concert in the evening.

She said it's a way to honour her daughter and keep her spirit alive.

"I mean at three years of age to have that personality and to have those qualities, you just don't see it all the time," Short said.

With files from Corner Brook Morning Show