Stuart, 45, tragically lost his adoring wife Rosanna, 40, to breast cancer last week after a long battle with the disease. He lay her to rest in a private funeral service on Friday at Khancoban, the tiny Snowy Mountains village where she grew up.
By Stuart’s side was four-year-old Alessia, the “miracle baby” Stuart and Rosanna created after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’d been told she’d never be a mum just three weeks after they married in the Snowy Mountains on April 13, 2002.
“Alessia will be the most loved baby that ever lived,” a then-overjoyed Stuart told Woman’s Day in an exclusive interview when Rosanna gave birth after eight long years hoping for a miracle.
“I have always had loving, caring people in my life, and if there is one thing I want to instil in Alessia, it’s that the people in your life matter.”
Friends hope the little girl will help pull Stuart through the latest heartbreaking tragedy.
“Everyone knows Stuart is a terrific dad to Alessia. He is trying to stay strong for his little girl,” a neighbour and close friend told Woman’s Day last week as the people of Thredbo prepared to farewell Rosanna, who will also be remembered at a memorial service there next month.
“Alessia is the rock that is going to really help him through this. She’s a real bright spark, that kid – a true ray of sunshine. But the past six months have been incredibly hard on them both as Rosanna’s health deteriorated.”
Rosanna originally met Stuart, 45, two years after the Thredbo landslide, which claimed the lives of 17 people including his first wife, Sally.
The pair then wed in 2002, and Rosanna was first diagnosed with breast cancer just three weeks after they tied the knot and then went into remission.
“I really did think it was unfair,” Stuart told Woman’s Day of the diagnosis.
“I went through all these emotions,” he says. “I thought is Rosanna going to die? It made me doubt a lot of things. Why me – again? It was a big blow, but it made our relationship unbelievably strong.”
Now Stuart’s heroic strength is shining through again. In the midst of being flooded with messages of support since Rosanna’s tragic death, he has asked people not to send flowers, but to donate to a far more important cause.
“[We] would like to thank you for your kindness, support and love during this difficult time,” he reached out in a written statement before the funeral.
“It is the wishes of the family that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the McGrath Foundation to ensure women and families affected by breast cancer are able to benefit from their wonderful work. The dedication, care and support from the Breast Care team extended to Rosanna was unwavering.
“Your donations and messages of support are greatly appreciated.”
Woman’s Day made a donation to the McGrath Foundation in memory of Rosanna and you can too, by visiting here to donate.
Read all about Stuart and Alessia and how they are coping with the shock news only in Woman’s Day, on sale 30th March.