Katie Cavanna: Emma is a warrior – like no other

Emma Murphy with her son, Stanley Beau

Emma Murphy with her son, Stanley Beau - Credit: Archant

They say that behind every successful woman, is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.

Being a woman in business is an empowering feeling. It is definitely not an easy journey, but is completely worth every failure and victory experienced along the way.

I’ve always set the bar high to push myself to achieve goals, both personally and professionally, and I encourage every woman to do the same. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by inspirational and beautiful women, who encourage me every day.

One of these formidable women is Emma Murphy. If you ever have the pleasure of being in Emma’s company, her calm poise, composure and phenomenal strength, takes your breath away.

When I think of Emma, I immediately think of one of those female heroines in a film. The ones who, against all odds, fight for their loved ones – with the most formidable strength.

I can always remember my mum saying to me: “When you’re a mother, you become superhuman; you become a force of nature that can take on anything.” This pretty much sums Emma up.

I have said it throughout the time I have known Emma; she’s a warrior – like no other.

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As a society we can, at times, throw the term ‘hero’ around without really thinking about its meaning. What Emma and her family have been dealt with would break anyone, but they are awe-inspiring and I would say, heroes.

The Stanley Beau Foundation, is a charity set up in memory of Emma’s son, Stanley, who sadly passed away in June 2019, from a life-limiting illness at just four years old.

The charity provides holidays, short breaks and days out in Devon for children with life-limiting illness and their families to help them make happy memories together with the precious time they have.

The charity also provides advocacy plus emotional and practical support to help lessen the feelings of isolation and stress felt when living with a seriously-ill child.

I was honoured to be asked to be on the board of trustees for the charity and I know that the charity will change so many lives.

Emma talks about the loss of Stanley as being ‘life-changing’. The tragic loss of Stanley has meant that Emma now views herself as a completely different person. After all, who could go through something like that and be the same person?

She talks about how she felt like she had to start again.

Before I set up RE4orm, I had always thought that starting a charity or community interest company would be easy – you have an idea and you want to make a difference, that’s got to be the hard part, right?

There is, rightly so, an abundance of protocol and legislation that must be adhered to and lots of hoops to jump through.

For Emma, the Stanley Beau Foundation, took more than eight months to set up as a charity. Covid-19 played a huge part in putting bureaucratic obstacles in place, but Emma did not give up.

Emma said: “I’m working with Stanley; I talk to him when I’m doing stuff – I wouldn’t be doing it without him.”

The ultimate goal of the charity is to have a place for families to holiday and be supported.

The nearest centre like this is 144 miles and a three-hour drive.

We need something like in Devon; to provide a break for families but to also connect and support families who are going through the same thing.

The charity is currently offering free holidays to families in South Devon. Families who are referred, are now unable to access hospice facilities due to Covid-19, unless it’s an emergency or end of life.

Their stay in a luxury lodge complete hot tub and access to hydrotherapy, brings so much joy and happiness.

If you’d like to support the Stanley Beau Foundation, contact the team at info@stanleybeaufoundation.org