EXCLUSIVE: How Ellidy Pullin’s little girl is helping heal her broken heart

"Minnie is my little miracle."
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Ellidy Pullin’s whole word changed on Wednesday July 8, 2020.

Ellidy, 30, was cleaning the house when her partner, snowboarding World and Olympic champion, Alex “Chumpy” Pullin  – an enthusiastic spear-fisher – hugged her tight before heading to the beach to go diving for their dinner.

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“I told Chumpy I loved him and to have fun,” Ellidy tells New Idea from her home in Palm Beach, Queensland.

Little did she know, it’d be the last time she’d hold him close.

Hours later, a surfer spotted Chumpy’s diving buoy bobbing strangely and his body lying lifeless beneath the water.

Despite attempts to revive the 32-year-old, he was pronounced dead at the scene after tragically suffering a shallow water blackout and drowning.

“I was numb and in disbelief,” Ellidy recalls. “At home his clothes were in the wardrobe, his to-do list pinned to the corkboard in the pantry, his guitars perfectly placed in the music room. He was everywhere yet nowhere.”

“I was numb and in disbelief,” Ellidy recalls of learning of Chumpy’s death. (Credit: Instagram)

Ellidy recalls how she met Chumpy at a friend’s 21st birthday party.

“Chumpy was larger than life and loved with his whole heart,” shares Ellidy, grateful for the eight years they had together.

Planning their forever together, they bought their dream home in Palm Beach and set about making their next dream a reality…becoming parents.

“We had been trying for a baby for nine months,” Ellidy reveals. “Chumpy always said we’d be great parents.”

But with her devoted fun, generous and loving soul mate gone, those dreams were seemingly dashed until just hours after Chumpy’s death, Ellidy’s brother, Dave, brought hope.

“Knowing we’d been trying for a baby, Dave mentioned post-mortem sperm retrieval” explains Ellidy. “I’d never heard of it and had no idea of the process but suddenly there was a chance we could still have the baby we’d longed for.”

“Chumpy was larger than life and loved with his whole heart.” (Credit: Instagram)

In Queensland, posthumous sperm donation is legal when a ‘designated officer’ is convinced the deceased wouldn’t object and immediate family gives consent. Under the state’s guidelines, retrieval must happen within 36 hours of death.

“Everything seemed so surreal. One minute I was chatting to Chumpy then next he was gone, and it was a race against the clock to retrieve my dead partner’s sperm to have his child,” Ellidy says.

Time was ticking as family rallied to find a fertility doctor from an IVF clinic to do the procedure and a lawyer to cut through the red tape.

In the 37th hour Chumpy’s sperm was taken and placed in storage at the IVF clinic until the young widow was ready to proceed with IVF.

Six months later, after two rounds of IVF, a miracle happened. Ellidy was pregnant.

“It was bittersweet like none other, but I’d never been more certain or excited about anything in my entire life,” reveals Ellidy.

After a marathon labour, on Monday October 25, 2021, fifteen months after Chumpy died, Ellidy welcomed daughter Minnie Alex Pullin.

“She has his eyes and is so present and aware.” (Credit: Instagram)

Now as Minnie approaches her first birthday, Ellidy reflects on how much she is like her father.

“She has his eyes and is so present and aware,” she says, adoringly.

Juggling her successful podcast Darling, Shine! and the release of her memoir Heartstrong, Ellidy reveals she has big plans to celebrate her bub’s first birthday with a house-full of family and friends.

“Chumpy would be gutted he’s not there in person – he’d be serenading Happy Birthday to her on his guitar for sure,” she says.

“As much as I love Minnie and feel eternally grateful to have her, she’s not a replacement for Chumpy. She is her father’s daughter, but she’s so much more than that. She is her own person, and I can’t wait to keep getting to know her…I’m so lucky to be her mum.

“Chumpy is everywhere and never leaves us. Every morning we say ‘hello’ to daddy in the sky and jump into the day with the same energy and passion that Chumpy lived his life. If we can’t do life with him, then we’ll do it for him.”

Buy Heartstrong by Ellidy Pullin, with Alley Pascoe, Hachette, from Booktopia.

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