Jessica Stein, aka Tuula Vintage, was one of Australia’s OG fashion, lifestyle and travel bloggers back in the day. She was so early on the platform — and always featured beautiful photography in her posts — that when Instagram came around, her fans followed her there, and she amassed 2.7 million followers.
While her fellow bloggers used their influence to really make their mark on the fashion world — landing front row seats at shows, and even starring in designer campaigns — Jessica decided to travel the world.
She seemed to live a pretty enviable life, jet-setting to the most amazing locations. Then Jessica disappeared off the radar for a while. She posted travel photos sporadically, but she wasn’t as active on social media as her fellow bloggers.
In February, Jessica shared the exciting news that she was pregnant, and that she was expecting her first child with her boyfriend, Pat Cooper.
She posted a few more updates about her pregnancy — with some stunning photography, as usual — but it was clear that her focus had changed from blogging and travelling, to setting up her new family life.
Jessica posted in June that their little girl, who they named Rumi Willis Cooper, had arrived 12 weeks earlier. In the emotional post, she revealed that Rumi’s first few months had been extremely difficult for everyone, writing, “I always knew it wouldn’t be easy for me to become a mother, but I never thought these first precious months would be so hard for her. We're still living in hospital a few hours from home and taking each day as it comes, learning from and loving every moment with her. We are hoping to be back home in the coming weeks to settle in and enjoy our new chapter together.”
It was only earlier this month that Jessica revealed the severity of little Rumi’s condition. “Every day is a fight, but yesterday was the worst of our lives. Ru had urgent surgery for her intestinal malrotarion a few days ago. After a horrible day when the morphine increased and she was finally resting during her first Immunoglobulin Replacement Therapy (plasma transfusions) her stats dropped. No parent should know this feeling. I don't know how we made it through. But she did,” she wrote.
This week, Jessica used her platform to reveal the reason why she, Pat and Rumi had been in and out of hospital for months: Rumi was diagnosed with Mosaic Trisomy 2, with Maternal Uni Parental Disomy 2, a condition so rare that there have been less than 10 cases recorded, ever.
The photos of their beautiful baby in hospital are heartbreaking. Jessica said they spend most of their time at Sydney Children’s Hospital, and that most of their savings are gone, which is why she decided to set up a Go Fund Me page for Our Little Warrior Rumi.
“Pat and I would like to stress how uncomfortable we are to be asking for financial help and want to be completely transparent,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, all of our savings are long gone. We have already borrowed a few thousand from family to tide us over, but rent is due yet again and we currently have $202 between us.”
The goal was to raise $100,000 to pay for medical bills, but the young family has been inundated with support, and in less than 24 hours they have already raised $151,915 (and counting!).
Jessica has also used her reach to bring more attention to rare diseases, and to let people know the small ways they can help others, because everything counts: “Just give. Anything you can. A smile, a hug, a conversation, a coffee. These can be the most trying moments of our lives and every small act of kindness will be remembered.”