The heartbroken father of a two-year-old girl who died after choking on a sausage at her nursery plans to “show her the world she never got to see” by scattering her ashes at Mount Everest.
Giving his first interview to mark the anniversary of his daughter Sadie’s passing on Sunday November 14, 2020, company director Adam Salt, 41, told how he always wears a tiny urn containing a sprinkling of her ashes around his neck.
Describing her as “the most beautiful girl,” the father-of-three from Hertfordshire, who is still awaiting a date for her inquest, said: “I want to take Sadie around the world.”
He added: “I wear her around my neck. She goes everywhere with me.
“I want to sprinkle Sadie’s ashes at Everest. I want to take her with me.
“The only word I can use to describe losing Sadie is pain. But you’ve got to stand up, take the hit and find a way to pick up the pieces.”
He added: “She needs to see the world she never got to see, that’s my mission.”
Adam, who also has two sons – Zac, 11, and Joshua, eight – with Sadie’s mother, Zoe, 40, is speaking on the family’s behalf.
He is trekking to Everest in March 2022 with his best friend, professional photographer Steve Mulvey, 41, and hopes to raise funds for COSMIC, the charity supporting the children’s unit of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, west London, where Sadie died, as a thank you for her “excellent care.“
“Sadie was beautiful,” he said. “She was headstrong and thought she was bigger than she was. She was so intelligent and spoke Spanish with my mum.
“We would have cuddles in the morning and I loved reading to her. Watching Sadie was a wonderful thing, she would do this special kiss, called a ‘whole daddy face kiss.’
“She would hold my face with both her hands and then give a big kiss. She made me feel a million dollars.”
Sadie started choking on a sausage while she was having lunch at nursery on November 12, 2020.
Taken to Watford General Hospital before being transferred to the PICU unit at St Mary’s Hospital, Sadie passed away two days later on November 14.
Remembering the shocking incident, Adam said: “It was a massive trauma.”
He added: “Sadie was admitted to St Mary’s and they were amazing. The level of care was extraordinary. They treated her so beautifully and did everything they could for us.
“On November 14 2020, just before Sadie passed away, I read her favourite book to her, Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.
“But at the end, I changed the words to ‘We love you to heaven and back.’”
He added: “Losing her was unimaginable. After she passed away we were exhausted, it was hard work even opening the door of the car.
“I turned to look over my left shoulder and saw her car seat in the back.
“Then we had to go through it all again, because as soon as we got back to the house we had to tell the boys.”
He added: “We hadn’t told them the true extent of Sadie being in hospital. They’d been making her get well cakes and cards.
“We had no idea what we were walking into.
“Nothing comes close to it. There are no words to describe what that was like.”
He added: “I refer to people like us as survivors. What I mean by that is the worst possible thing that could happen in your life has happened.
“This happened to me and I have PTSD as a result. I think people expect you to take it all on the shoulders and witness it all quietly.
“But I’m a human being and the fact I can talk about my feelings makes me more of a man. I’m not hiding.”
Adam threw himself into fundraising for COSMIC in her honour. The charity was originally set up for the St Mary’s Hospital and Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London, but now funds hospitals across the Imperial NHS Trust.
“The morning after losing Sadie I started fundraising,” he said.
“I called Steve and told him I wanted to raise money in her honour and he discovered COSMIC. I couldn’t believe that we knew so little about such a vital charity.”
He added: “They are the insurance no one ever wants to cash in on. But this kind of thing does happen to normal people on a normal day doing normal things.
“Then bang, something comes out of the woodwork and changes your life forever. In one phone call, in one split second, nothing is ever the same again.”
The family also launched a JustGiving page to help their efforts.
He said: “We created a JustGiving and it’s currently at £61,500 plus gift aid.
“My son, Zac, says he wants to raise £100,000 for Sadie, so that’s what I’m setting out to do.
“I always wanted to go to Everest, so I contacted COSMIC and spoke to them about it and they agreed to sponsor the trek.”
He added: “I want to raise the funds to pay back the £2,000 they’ve spent on the trip and also create more donations for them.”
Meanwhile, his best friend Steve will not only be joining him on the 130km adventure – he also plans to film every moment of their trek for a documentary.
“I messaged my friendship group on WhatsApp asking for support with my trek,” said Adam.
“Four hours later Steve was booked in to come with me. We’ve been friends since we were five and he was one of the first people I turned to when Sadie passed away.
“He’s one of the people I always go to for advice.
“The documentary was his idea. I think he referred to it as, ‘Making a record of what, why and how.’”
And Sadie will be central to the expedition, with Adam planning to scatter her ashes on the mountain.
“This isn’t just a trek to Everest, “ said Adam.
“When Sadie died we were given three little boxes of her ashes and I do mean small – the size of a harmonica box,. That is what you’ve got left of your daughter.”
He added: “She wasn’t meant to be buried. She shouldn’t be trapped. She needs to be taken around the world.
“I have some of her ashes in an urn that’s around my neck, it just looks like a silver ring.
“Wherever I go, she comes with me. I decided that in special places I will leave a piece of her.”
He added: “Everest will be one of many very special sprinklings where we leave our Sadie. I always say a father’s job is never done.
“Sadie might be gone but I have so much work to do.”
Now the friends are busy preparing for their climb – setting off on March 10, and returning 18 days later on March 28.
“I’m very active and snowboard but I’ve been walking with a backpack to prepare,” said Adam.
“I don’t have anything particularly planned for what I’m going to say when I sprinkle Sadie’s ashes.
“When I get there I’ll know what to do.”
Steve, who is keen to support his friend, says he was also devastated by Sadie’s death.
He will film the Everest trek as a record for Adam and also for a documentary showing a bereaved father’s journey, which he hopes will raise money for COSMIC.
He said: “I’ve known Adam since we were five and our families are very close. My most treasured memory is taking pictures of Adam and Sadie on the beach. It was a magical day.”
He added: “This film that I intend to make will be a documentary that talks about a bereaved father while doing this challenge as a reference for the charity to use and raise some funds.
“If there was a button we could press to help our friends, we would press it, but there isn’t.
“But I couldn’t let Adam go to Everest by himself. There’ll be times where we can talk. This is something I felt I had to do for him.”
(MUST PAR) To donate to Adam and Steve’s Everest trek go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/everest-base-camp-for-cosmic-sadies-story
To donate to the family’s Just Giving page go to – https://www.justgiving.com/remember/819712/Sadie-Salt