My Story:

Cassius and Leviticus

From Auckland

Cassius was born on the 20th January 2020. He was only 24 weeks and 3 days gestation, and his mum Cassandra didn’t know she was going to go into labour that day. Everything seemed normal. Cassandra was due for her next scan and was under the foetal maternal clinic in Auckland as she was high risk due to her own medical history. After one normal pregnancy with her first child, Leviticus, Cassandra didn’t think she would have a premature baby.

With no concerns from the midwife even though she was bleeding, Cassandra realised she was going into labour early that day. Her and her partner, Govindas, called the women’s unit at Auckland Hospital for advice. The nurse on the phone said it couldn’t be labour. However, Cassandra and Govindas didn’t want to take any chances. They went in for a check up to alleviate their worry. Once the exam had started, they were told that Cassandra’s membrane had been ruptured about five hours previously. Cassandra was sent to the labour suite. The medical professionals did everything they could to stop labour. Cassandra had four or five IV lines with strong medication to stop what was happening, but her and Govindas’ little boy was determined to enter the world.

After having advice about what they could expect with a baby born so early, Cassandra was prepped for labour. Cassius was born at 687grams and was in distress prior to birth. Cassandra was told she may need a classical C-section due to his distress. She had been told that it would mean it would be harder for her to have children as the incision was vertical rather than horizontal. However, the C-section wasn’t needed, and Cassius was born naturally. It was a difficult birth for Cassandra, very tiring because Cassius was so small her body had to work a lot harder to birth him and it was very painful. Cassius was only 31cm long with a head circumference of 20cm.

Govindas and Cassandra were given the option to withhold medical intervention for Cassius as he was so small and there was a very high chance of complications for him. The parents chose to give their tiny baby boy medical intervention. Cassius was sent straight to NICU and was intubated right away. He was only nine minutes old. He was hooked up to a multitude of tubes and machines. When his parents finally were able to see him, seeing all the equipment and his small body was overwhelming. His eyes were still fused shut and he was so small it was almost unbelievable he had survived so far. His parents say, ‘Because of what we had experienced in the last 48 hours since Cassius was born, we were inspired to name him after boxing legend Cassius Clay who is most known as Muhammad Ali. We decided this name suited him perfectly as he had already entered this world dancing and circling the ring for survival from the moment he was born. As he continued to preserve overtime, he continued to bob and weave every opponent that kept trying to tear him down even in his most challenging fights. We can say with confidence that he truly lived up to his name.’

All in all, Cassius was in NICU for 197 days, from January to August. Those days weren’t easy for his parents who were trying to juggle living at home and at the hospital, serious and stressful meetings about what to do if Cassius became very ill, what to do with his older brother Leviticus if they had to rush in when Cassius went downhill, something that happened a lot over those long days. At that time the family didn’t have a car and had to rely on public transport to get to and from the hospital.

Cassius had a very rocky time in NICU. He was struggling to thrive. At five days old his parents were informed there were findings of IVH(Interventricular hemorrhages) Grade 4 left & Grade 3 right. (Grade 1 mild-Grade 4 severe) in his brain. He was diagnosed with chronic lung disease as his lungs were so underdeveloped, and he was relying too heavily on a ventilator to breathe. Cassius' respiratory status fluctuated very often, therefore trials of alternative respiratory support were tested to help wean him off conventional ventilation in hopes he would be able to potentially breathe on his own in the future. This consisted of CPAP(continuous positive airway pressure), High flow and low flow. However, most trials and deterioration required re-intubation. Cassius was diagnosed with chronic lung disease at 36 weeks of age and his parents were informed the cause would be due to prolonged ventilation. Day 63 of life Cassius had a grand apnoea (not breathing for more than 20 seconds) which required IPPV (Intermittent positive pressure ventilation) and a cardiac massage. He was Intubated once again and briefly started conventional ventilation. He had persistent hypercapnia so was then switched to ocellary ventilation (HPOV or High frequency oscillatory ventilation), which he had remained on for a total of 8 days. He had started a course of steroids to which he had responded well to. Cassius’ parents had many meetings with the NICU team in regards to his health. But this was one of many meetings they would have where they feared for his life at this point. They were unsure of his outcome, so his parents were put into a parent room on the ward (normally used for parents who are getting ready to be discharged.) It was unknown as to how he became so unwell.

Day 154 days of life Cassius was 5 months old and he is scheduled for a L+B (Laryngoscopy and Bronchoscopy) by the ENT(Ear, nose and throat) team to where there were findings of Bronchomalacia. Cassius was transferred from NICU to Starship theatre in order for this procedure to take place. Prior to this, there was a guarantee everything would be as smooth as possible, and he would be extubated on return. All did not go as planned and Cassius became reliant on conventional ventilation. The following day Cassius was due for a CT scan. He deteriorated following the CT scan due to his left lung collapsing and severe respiratory acidosis (lungs were struggling to remove all the carbon dioxide his body is producing). He was then placed onto High frequency ventilation on a oscillator. He slowly improved and his left lung re-inflated. During this time an echocardiogram was performed and he was also diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. The team then proceeded to treat him for this. There were also findings of a vegetation on his tricuspid valve (heart) which was treated with antibiotics for endocarditis. Cassius managed to slowly start recovering so he was then switched back to conventional ventilation. Removing his breathing tube was only delayed by a few days as they were waiting for a central line insertion for treatment of endocarditis, which was required to take place in theatre. If he had continued to rapidly deteriorate, a tracheostomy insertion would have taken place. In the end a tracheostomy was not needed. Cassius was extubated to CPAP. He did not respond well to CPAP so was then switched to high flow. Cassius became wheezy following being extubated which was likely linked to the Bronchomalacia. He continued to progress on high flow subsequently. A repeat echo showed improvement in pulmonary pressures & so his medication was weaned. With all medical things aside any progress Cassius made was a big accomplishment in his family’s eyes.

Finally, Cassius was discharged and transferred to ward 26B in Starship in early August. Happily, the family were then able to take Cassius home on the 23rd September. After fighting so hard, their youngest child was ready to go home.

Govindas, Cassandra, Leviticus and Cassius were home for about three months. They were able to spend Cassius’ first Christmas at home as a family, as well as Cassius’ first birthday. The family were also able to buy a car so that travel as a lot easier. Cassius spent his first birthday at Kelly Tarltons. His family were so happy and content that he was home. He loved listening to music and dancing in his bouncer. Home was also when he found his love for Cocomelon and The Wiggles. Although his parents’ ears were struggling to listen to it every day, they endured it just to see his smile on his face, giving them beautiful realisations of how far he had come along in this marathon. At last their home finally felt like home and they were happy. Cassius continued to be monitored at home from his homecare nurse, physio therapist, dietician and speech language therapist. When they were home, Cassius needed a lot of medical support. His parents wanted to be the ones who did the majority of caring for him and so they had been trained in the hospital in what his needs were. They had declined in-home help so they could be the ones to care for Cassius and spend as much time with him and Leviticus as possible. Training included being able to re-insert the NG tube he needed, flush it out, make sure his nasal prongs were in, order and replace his oxygen tanks, make sure his NG tube was in the right place before and after a feed and medication, get more medication or the home care nurse who checked in with them regularly, check his pH, prime his line for feeding every four hours, change his NG tube every eight weeks, flush his NG tube after every feed, read his oxygen levels, and check his breathing when he was put to bed as he had bronchomalacia (narrowed airways). It was a full-time job, but Govindas and Cassandra wanted to have all the time they could with their baby boy. They also tried bottle feeding but he preferred being tube fed.

The family wanted to enjoy the time they had with their little boy. They wanted to celebrate every milestone, nurse him through his sickness, and spend as much time with their precious little one as he was so sick, they didn’t know if he would survive. There were still ups and downs and he was unable to hold down his feeds and developed a mild increase in his effort to breathe.

However, no one knew that when they celebrated his first birthday, it would also be Cassius’ last birthday. After he turned one, Govindas and Cassandra took Cassius to have his MMR shot a few days after his birthday. They were a little worried that it wouldn’t go well but knew he needed the vaccine. They had been told when they were discharged that Cassius had to be up to date with him immunisations. After he had the vaccine, he started vomiting a lot. That was the first thing that his family noticed. There was also a lump at the injection sight. When the home care nurse looked at it, however, she said that it was a rare side-effect but would go away with time. Cassandra wasn’t so sure. Her mum instincts were telling her something was very wrong. Cassius’ previous immunisations hadn’t had those side-effects. The following week, Cassius spiked a fever. His family took him straight to the ED. He was checked over and sent back home with antibiotics on the same day. There were concerns in regards to his increased heart rate, however, the following day Cassius was then discharged. Cassius had tests done and tested positive for parainfluenza and was admitted onto the wards and stayed in hospital over the course of 4 days. His parents weren’t satisfied that no more tests were done, especially with his medical history, however they brought him home. The following morning his fever spiked again. He was finally admitted to hospital.

Physically he looked lethargic, but all his tests and oxygen were normal. The family were sent home again. Cassius became very restless that night. To help him settle, Govindas stayed in his room with him to keep an eye on his son. About 1am/2am, Cassius went silent. Govindas was still awake and knew something was very wrong. Looking at his son he saw that he was blue, his eyes had rolled back, and he wasn’t breathing, Cassius was suffering a seizure. Quickly, Govindas started CPR while Cassandra called an ambulance. Govindas continued CPR until the ambulance arrived. Because of his medical history, four ambulances arrived at the house. They arrived in 2 minutes. There were no reserve veins for the medical team to use as Cassius had been tested and poked and prodded so much, so to get medication into his system a bone drill was used on his leg in attempts get an IV line inserted as Cassius was under severe distress caused by his seizure.

Govindas went with the ambulance while Cassandra stayed home with Leviticus to get him ready to go to the hospital. Cassius was taken straight into PICU where he was sedated. They tried to find more veins to give him fluids and it took 40 minutes to find a line. Finally, they got one which went directly into his groin to find the bigger veins. Govindas and Cassandra were able to see their boy. Because it was so early in the morning, they had to wait for the doctor to arrive to know what was happening with Cassius. Accommodation was unavailable at the time of his arrival to PICU as the Ronald McDonald House did not open until 8am. Cassandra and Govindas’ option was to stay in the family rooms PICU provides for families for the time being. They brought up the fact that Cassius had just had his MMR vaccine. Nothing else had been different in Cassius’ life to cause him to go downhill so fast. The doctors determined his condition was due to fluid overload rather than the immunisation, but Cassandra and Govindas were dissatisfied in the instant dismissal of the MMR causing him to end up back in hospital.

Cassius’ parents were advised Pneumonitis (Inflammation in the lungs) was caused by parainfluenza he had tested positive for almost a week prior. However, they were not convinced that was the only reason as to why he became so unwell but kept their opinion to themselves. Cassius was transferred from PICU to the Respiratory Team on ward 26B. The hospital has a "1 parent to stay overnight rule" so Cassandra would stay by Cassius while Govindas would sleep in the car parked across from Starship hospital. He would always make sure he would park as close to Cassius' room window as possible, so Cassius and Cassandra were able to see him. They would use the flashlights on their phones as a way of saying goodnight to each other and letting each other know they were okay. The doctors continued proceeding with every test under the sun for Cassius but they still fell short with answers for his family. Cassandra and Govindas were then introduced to an Immunology Consultant, Dr Kuang. As they continued to elaborate to search for possiblities for Cassius' sudden deterioration, we needed to give informed consent in order for genetic testing to be done to find any other sources as to why he became so ill. More blood tests and nasal swabs were done, and it was finally confirmed Cassius tested positive for Measles, Mumps & Rubella in his blood and in his lungs which was associated with the MMR vaccine. The team at Starship hospital also had Cassius undergo a lumber puncture to which he tested positive for the mumps virus in the fluid of his brain from the MMR vaccine which caused Cassius to develop encephalitis. The PAR (patients at risk) team we also brought on board in regards to Cassius' declining health. It was a horrifying shock.

New tests were done, as well as genetic testing. He was also found to be immunocompromised, and his liver wasn’t working properly. Through the genetic testing he was also found to be immunocompromised, with a rare type of immunodeficiency called IFNAR 1. Had it been known Cassius' had this immunodeficiency prior to his MMR vaccine, it would not have been advised for him to proceed with the immunisation and his liver wasn’t working properly. Govindas and Cassandra struggled a lot with this knowledge. They felt that the medical professionals looking after Cassius should have tested for a lot more of these issues and should have thought that the reaction to the MMR vaccine should have been looked at more seriously.

Cassius now had to deal with seizures and was back and forth between PICU and the ward. His parents pushed to make sure he had the best care. To try and help with the seizures, Cassius was given medication. Suddenly he shut down and a code blue was called. He was revived and moved from PICU back to the ward. For four months Cassius was on ward 25B.

Given Cassius already had an extensive medical history which had consisted of extreme prematurity at 24 weeks plus 3 days gestation, chronic lung disease at 36 weeks, respiratory distress syndrome,  bronchomalacia, retinopathy of prematurity stage 2, patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonary hypertension, hydrocephalus- post haemorrhagic, periventricular white matter change, porencephalic cysts-left, IVH(Interventricular hemorrhage), infective endocarditis, CMV, hypertension, umbilical hernia, impetigo, parainfluenza, and was now MMR positive. His new diagnosis of IFNAR1, which is an extremely rare type of immunodeficiency that was only established in 2019 was another to add to his growing list. Studies of IFNAR1 has recently been published on the Ministry of health website in late April of 2022 with both Cassius and his brother Leviticus taking part in the research findings to elaborate more about the genetic condition. Due to this fairly new condition, at the time of Cassius' diagnosis there were limited case studies published with Cassius being 1 in 10 individuals that had been recorded. There is currently ongoing research and plans to investigate further in regards to the IFNAR1.

His family had to deal with potential seizures as Cassandra had raised concerns he was having "silent seizures" but weren't fatal enough for staff to determine whether it was a seizure or not. Cassius was under close watch. Cassius continued to show signs of distress and seized once again. Medication was introduced to reduce Cassius from seizing and his family were warned if Cassius was to seize again and more medication was required, it's likely his body would shut down after a second dose. Cassius ended up needing that second dose and his body did shut down, so a Code Blue was called. They managed to revive him. The following day Cassius was transferred to PICU for only a blood transfusion but stayed for a couple of days until being transferred back onto the wards. He was then transferred to ward 25 to be cared for under the General Paediatrics team. Both Cassius’ parents needed to adjust to all the new faces on a new ward as ward 26B was a part of Cassius' family due to his prolonged stay in hospital. They were lucky enough and extremely grateful for the charge nurse on 25B to have approved the both of his parents to stay by Cassius while he was on the road to recovery. As Cassius continued to recover externally, Cassandra was keeping strong and steady but internally she was breaking down mentally. Having Govindas support helped a lot as they were running the same marathon in trying keep it together for Cassius. Govinda kept to his routine of reading him books every day since he was born. Cassius had so much love for music, so his family interacted with him as if we were still at home.

By this time Cassius was under the care of multiple teams and specialists within the hospital such as the respiratory team, the General paediatric team, the immunology team and the infectious diseases team just to name a few. After being isolated in his room for so long Cassius was finally well enough for his family to be able to take him outside for some fresh air. Walks to the Auckland domain everyday became a part of his routine when he was in hospital. They would take Cassius to feed the ducks and visit the wintergardens. Fresh air helped both Cassius and his parents’ mental health. Cassius continued to recover and beat all odds like the fighter he was and after enduring four months of being in hospital a discharge date as put into place. Cassius was due to be discharged on the 24th May 2021 which everyone was extremely excited for. Cassius was a true ladies’ man. He loved all the attention from his nurses and doctors.

Finally, Cassius was starting to get better. The family were allowed to go home for a weekend trial which happened to coincide with Govindas’ birthday. During his weekend leave Cassius started to develop signals of becoming unwell. A home care nurse came to visit during the weekend leave, but she had no major concerns at the time. Because they were due to return to the hospital the next day for discharge his parents decided to watch him overnight. The next day his general paediatric consultant reviewed him and decided he needed to stay overnight just to keep an eye on him. Everyone did not expect things to turn the way things did. More tests were done, and Cassius tested positive for RSV and over the next few days Cassius started to rapidly deteriorate.

The staff on the ward had maxed out the care they were able to provide for him. He was reviewed by doctors that were on call and his family were told to just continue as is as there wasn't much they were able to do at the time. Cassius had not eaten for the last two days and was only surviving on Pedialyte for hydration. This made both Govinda and Cassandra furious. They liaised with Cassius' nurse that was assigned to him overnight expressing their concerns and Cassandra told her that She was not satisfied with the calls being made so she told the nurse she would like the call a code pink. A code pink in Starship hospital is an emergency call sent to the Medical Team who responds quickly to assist the patient. This includes a PICU registrar, paediatric registrar, paediatric House officer, clinical nurse manger and PaR nurse specialist. Cassandra was nervous because Cassius was then reviewed and is parents were informed by the PaR nurse that he was getting tired so Cassius was admitted back to PICU at 4am on Wednesday. His need for medical support increased while he continued to deteriorate. The staff were providing him the most care that they could. By 8am he was intubated again as he was going downhill again – the second time since arriving by ambulance four months earlier. His parents weren’t allowed to touch him as he wasn’t allowed to be moved and the next morning they were called in for a meeting with the doctors.

Cassandra felt in her gut that something was wrong, she felt horrible and uncomfortable like the worst was coming. Cassius was back on the Oscillator – a last resort treatment to try and help him. The doctors confirmed that they were worried for Cassius’ life and once back with their son, Cassandra saw that his oxygen was dropping. The doctors explained what was happening and tried suctioning to see if that cleared his airways a little more. Sadly, this had the opposite effect. Cassius’ oxygen levels fluctuated between 60 and 80, 100 being the norm. the family was told there was nothing more to be done and that they should consent to Cassius’ oxygen tube being removed. Shocked beyond words, Cassandra was silent, Govindas refused to have it happen. They asked to leave it in for now.

10pm on Thursday 27th May 2021, Cassius’ family gathered round to say their goodbyes and hope that he would miraculously pull through. Cassius’ monitor kept showing his stats dropping but Govindas still refused to have his breathing tube taken out. He wasn’t ready to let go. Cassius had a catheter in, but it stopped filling up, a visual indicator that Cassius was slipping away. The hospital staff were such a support, making every routine as normal as possible to comfort the family as best as they could.

As his heart rate and oxygen continued to desaturate and staff asked if his family wanted to hold him. They agreed, so staff turned Cassius' monitor away in respect for them to not see Cassius flatline. Govinda held him and Cassius' passed away in his 'dada's' (Cassius first and only word he learnt) arms. To this day Cassandra is haunted by the cries that were let out from a father who had just lost their child.

Cassius was then reviewed by the registrar and he called Cassius' time of passing at 5.30am on the 28th may 2021. After the doctor left all Cassandra wanted to do was put Cassius in his car seat and take him straight home. As disturbed as she was with what had just happened Cssandra continued as normal and did his cares, changed him into some clean clothes and wrapped him in his favourite blanket before her and Govinda’s family arrived in the next few hours. She did not realise until that morning how much of an impact their sweet boy made on everyone until Cassius' family came to see him(hospital staff). A lovely lady from Baby Loss Nz also came to take Cassius' hand and feet moulds which his mum and dad are extremely thankful to have in memory of him.

The family then went home the night of Cassius' passing. Their home had never felt so empty until then. Both Govinda and Cassandra had not slept for two days prior to his passing and when they arrived home hey just sat in silence not knowing what to do next. They felt their bodies were extremely exhausted but their minds were wide awake. For about a month or so they couldn't sleep in their room because looking at Cassius' belongings and his cot everyday became too difficult to bear.

In shock and grief, his parents took time to be together and with Leviticus who didn’t understand how his little brother could be there when he went to sleep at night and then was gone the next morning when he woke up. Cassius’ funeral was a celebration of his life, his family tried to give him the best send off and were shown love from family as well as from staff who had been invited to say their goodbyes as well. It was a hard time for the family as they had never expected to lose their child.

Now, Cassandra and Govindas worry for Leviticus. He has lost his baby brother in what to him was a sudden and confusing way. They are trying to put as much love and time into him as possible. When Cassius was diagnosed with an immunodeficiency, Leviticus was also tested. He also has IFNAR 1, the same illness Cassius has. The family had to go through a lot of changes once he was diagnosed. They were already isolating due to the pandemic but have been cautious to make sure he doesn’t catch Covid. He had missed term 1 of this year as well. Leviticus and his family struggle with remote learning but try their best to help him learn. He has also been diagnosed with unilateral hearing loss and this has affected his speech and learning. Now turning eight, Leviticus has had some good support, but his family want to make sure he gets the best support when he starts back at school, which means they want a full plan in place before he starts which will help him learn to the best of his abilities. If this doesn’t happen, they will investigate correspondence school which is worth it for Leviticus as it gives the support he needs while he is able to work from home. A discussion with his immunologist will inform this decision. Leviticus’ diagnosis does stop him from doing a lot of things and catching Covid,RSV or certain viruses could be potentially fatal for him due to his weakened immunity. His family are trying to minimize the risks for him.

Leviticus was a NICU baby as well as a PICU baby. He had a rocky start like his brother. When Cassandra was pregnant, she had a sonogram late in the pregnancy which showed a heart defect – (TOF). Luckily Leviticus was born full term which helped his chanced and he was taken straight to NICU, due to meconium aspiration and only needing a few days in there. Leviticus however, he did well and was only in hospital for a few days. With a heart defect (Tetralogy of Fallot diagnosis), it was extremely difficult to hear as Cassandra and Govindas were newly young parents who had no family history of heart conditions or potential complications during pregnancy. In a normal healthy heart, blood usually travels through the heart to the lungs where it collects oxygen to what is called oxygen-rich blood. This would then leave the lungs, make its way back to the heart and then circulate throughout the body. In Leviticus' case with TOF, he was having trouble retrieving enough blood to his lungs, so his body was getting to much of what is called oxygen-poor blood. The hole that was found was allowing both the oxygen-rich blood and oxygen-poor blood mix together therefore he was receiving too much oxygen-poor blood which was not good for his body. Tetralogy of Fallot is a heart defect that involves multiple abnormalities that consists of VSD (Ventricular Septal defect), most known as a hole in the heart, Pulmonary Stenosis-also referred to as narrowing of the pulmonary artery, displaced aorta and right ventricular hypertrophy. Leviticus had open heart surgery that was a duration of 6 hours in Starship hospital. He was then transferred to PICU to recover before transferring to the cardiac ward 23B. He recovered really well, and the family were sent home.

When Leviticus had his MMR vaccine he also fell ill with meningitis and viral infections – showing a familial predisposition to side effects to the vaccine. To add to his illnesses, Leviticus was also diagnosed with Kawasaki disease where everything in his body swells up and becomes inflamed. After a bad bout of this Cassandra noticed that his development stalled and changed. She feels this may be a factor in his hearing loss and additional needs. Thankfully, he has grown a lot since then and is doing everything a normal eight-year-old can do. Physically you wouldn’t realise Leviticus was any different to any other child of the same age.

Cassandra says, ‘Once I mentally realised he was really gone, I became angry with the world. Seeing families with children or expecting children was a major trigger on our trauma after his passing. We had the love and support of our families, but in this situation, it was something that only another grieving parent would be able to truly understand what we were going through. Over the 6 months since he died, I started experiencing PTSD from the trauma of losing Cassius. We still have his cot up as if we are waiting for him to come home. The grief of losing a child is something we wish on no one. Not even on our worst enemies. We are eternally grateful for the love and support we have received during Cassius' marathon from the staff who stood by us until the end especially Cassius' General paediatric and Immunology Consultant, you know who you are and all the staff on Starship ward 25 and their amazing charge nurse. The time they allowed to us have off hospital grounds to get food or see Leviticus means more to us than they will ever know. They will always be a part of Cassius' family. We also want to send our love and gratitude to NICU, Starship ward 26B and PICU for the love and support we received during his marathon. We send them all our love as we know Cassius touched the hearts of so many during his stay in hospital.

28th of May this year will officially mark 1 year since his passing. Time has flown by so quickly for us and our emotions and feelings still feel very raw as if it just happened yesterday. We are always trying send positivity and give words of wisdom to other parents out there to simply treasure their children and hold them close to their hearts because we would do anything to have Cassius back in our arms. We hope our story will be able to help guide families enduring through child loss and parents who have children with rare illnesses.

Among having his own medical conditions, Leviticus grew to become such a well-mannered, bright kid with a kind personality. We are so proud of the milestones he has reached and all his achievements despite the obstacles he faced in the early stages of his life. Leviticus is now receiving ongoing support from his immunologist with his new diagnosis of IFNAR1 for he was only diagnosed with in the past year.

We are honoured and proud to be Cassius’ and Leviticus' parents. Our hardship with both children who took different paths in their lives was a struggle mentally and emotionally, but we are in such awe of how much of a fight they put up when things turned for the worse for them. We believe our beautiful butterfly is watching over us and he is the reason we are still staying strong and steady to this day. Cassius was earthside for 16 months and 130 days, from those enduring months we are privileged to be able to have brought him home and spend quality time together. Those memories will eternally be imprinted in our heart, mind and souls.’

Our hopes and thoughts go to Cassandra, Govindas and Leviticus as they navigate this difficult time of grief. We hope that Leviticus continues to thrive and grow and love life as only a child can.

For those who would like to continue to follow Cassius' journey please feel free to follow on Instagram @the_eternal_reign_of_cassius