Linda Lusardi and the family of comedian Eddie Large have thrown their support behind a new online living memorial for those who have died from coronavirus.
The Rainbow Remembers website allows relatives and friends to record the name, a photo and others details of the deceased.
Its creator, website designer and researcher Charlie Springal, hopes it will provide another way of honouring loved ones, while funerals remain socially-distanced and limited to immediate family.
Lusardi, 61, contracted coronavirus alongside husband Sam Kane, and spent 10 days in hospital suffering from fever, chronic chest pains and vomiting.
Ryan McGinnis, Large’s son, is taking part following the death of his father, aged 78, who contracted coronavirus while undergoing treatment in hospital for heart problems.
He recalled his father’s final week, saying: “Sadly, as a family, we know exactly what it is like to lose a loved one during this pandemic.
“We lost an incredible dad, husband, granddad, brother and uncle, and we miss him every day.
“We were not able to be with dad during the final week of his life and that thought will always be heart breaking.
“We wanted to celebrate dad’s life and wanted to have a huge funeral, but with the current restrictions we couldn’t.
“Everyone deserves to have their life celebrated and honoured and we did the best we could.
“We are desperate for dad to be remembered and we will be no different to everyone else going through the same grieving process.
“The wonderful tributes and stories we’ve been receiving, from so many different people, has truly helped us through these awful times.
“This is why we want to back the wonderful idea of Rainbow Remembers.
“This site will give everybody who has sadly lost loved ones the chance for them to be celebrated, remembered and a place for tributes to be made.”
Model and actress Lusardi said: “People are not getting the send-off they deserve at the moment because of the disruptions to normal life we are all going through.
“This Rainbows Remembers website is a wonderful way to ensure that people who have died from coronavirus are not just another statistic.
“We are all affected by coronavirus. My husband Sam and I both nearly died from it. I have met many people who have lost a relative or a friend.
“But at the moment it is very difficult to pay your respects. People are not able to get to funerals and those how have passed away are being laid to rest very quickly.
“Hopefully, Rainbow Remembers can be a place where people can post a loving tribute to the people they have lost.
“I will never forget the day that I was taken away in an ambulance when I took a turn for the worse with coronavirus.
“My son Jack watched me being taken away by paramedics in full suits and masks and I thought he would never see me again.
“There is so much tragedy being played out at the moment. The least we can do is ensure that everyone is remembered properly.”
She added: “I am still recovering from coronavirus. I lost so much weight and muscle, but I can’t exercise yet because it would put too much strain on my lungs.
“I would not wish anyone to catch it. Please stay in and stay safe.”
More information at rainbowremembers.org
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