The evening of Tuesday 9th, Unity Books was graced with the presence of author Emma Gilkison and partner Roy Costilla. The courageous couple were warmly welcomed by a crowd of friends, family and fans, eager to hear excerpts from Emma’s new memoir The Heart of Jesus Valentino. Awa Press’s Mary Varnham, friend and author Marianne Elliot, and Emma’s partner Roy Costilla, all spoke eloquently about their connection and experiences alongside Emma and the tears began to swell among the crowd. Emma then spoke about the harrowing experience detailed in the memoir and we were left with a room of sobbing souls. The beauitful Ukelele rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” by Emma’s sister Francie rounded the night out inserting a bittersweetness into our heavy hearts. As the chatter rattled on, as the drink flowed, and books were signed, everyone left feeling deeply moved and uplifted by the courageous story, and like Emma and Roy’s gorgeous son Amaru, went into the evening sending out smiles and blowing kisses.
The Heart of Jesus Valentino is a tender, heartfelt story about a couple forced to go beyond the everyday and confront profound issues of life and death. Emma and Roy are thrilled to be expecting a new arrival to their family, but during a routine scan they discover their child’s heart is growing outside of his chest. A rare medical condition that only occurs in eight in a million babies, the couple must decide whether to end the pregnancy? Or continue with the knowledge that their child would die soon after birth? A triumphant, extraordinary story of medicine, motherhood, and the decisions none of us want to face.
Words & pictures by Hannah Truly