Just days ago they were making preparations for her first day at school — now they are planning her funeral.
Devastated parents Iwona and Krzysztof Glowacka, who live in East Cork, were finalising the arrangements last night following the sudden death of their five-year-old daughter, Maja, earlier this week.
It is understood they may be planning to bury her in their native Poland, where most of their family still live.
Sources close to the family said Maja was so excited the week before last when she started junior infants at Scoil Mhuire Naofa in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. They said she was particularly delighted to be joining her brother, Mikolaj, eight, who is also a pupil at the school.
However, Maja fell ill suddenly on Monday and died later. It was initially feared she died of meningitis but medical investigations are ongoing to establish the exact cause of death.
The family is being supported by relatives who have travelled from Poland, by members of the local community, and the wider Polish community in Cork.
A special fundraising campaign has been launched to help them with funeral costs and counselling.
Family friend Sofia Lankiewicz, who is helping to co-ordinate the fundraising, said Maja’s death has shocked the school, community, neighbours, and friends.
However, Ms Lankiewicz said Maja’s parents, have drawn some comfort from the outpouring of support locally, which has seen more than €9,000 donated to a GoFundMe account in less than 24-hours.
The Maja’s Fund appeal describes her as “a beautiful, cheerful little girl” who loved her family and her big brother Mikolaj deeply.
“As friends of the family and part of the Carrigtwohill community we would love to support them as much as we can,” it says.
“The extended family is living in Poland and we are looking to help raise funds for all the funeral expenses that will take place abroad, their healthcare and living expenses while being out of work.
“It is an urgent call and we are looking to raise the funds within one week. Every contribution counts and is much appreciated.”
School authorities wrote to parents earlier this week on foot of advice from the National Educational Psychologists Service so that they could talk to their children about Maja’s tragic death.
It asked the school community to keep Maja’s parents and brother in their thoughts and prayers, and assured them that teachers will support their pupils through this difficult time.
The school has also created a special space in memory of Maja in its hall and has invited people to leave messages.
People can donate to the fund by logging on to gofundme.com/majas-fund.
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