Willow Golinski, Ashlee Green, Sage and Starlia Golinski, at the Noosa Lions Park Christmas community event.
Willow Golinski, Ashlee Green, Sage and Starlia Golinski, at the Noosa Lions Park Christmas community event. Contributed

A snapshot to cherish

IT'S a photo that will be cherished for a lifetime.

This image of Sage, Willow and Starlia Golinski with close friend Ashlee Green, was taken on December 18 at a Christmas dance performance at Noosaville Lions Park.

It was the weekend before the Boxing Day blaze which claimed the lives of Sage, Willow, Starlia, their mother, Rachael, and severely injured their father Matt.

Ashlee's mother Sue Paynter this week paid tribute to an inspirational Rachael, a bright and bubbly Starlia, and amazing twins Sage and Willow.

"I wish I had taken more photos, just of everyday events," Ms Paynter said.

"I didn't though, because you think they're always going to be there. This photo will be cherished forever."

Ms Paynter said she had formed a strong friendship with Rachael in 2011, following in their daughters' footsteps.

Sage and Willow, 12, who had a rare metabolic disorder with similar symptoms to cerebral palsy, had a close friendship with Ms Paynter's youngest daughter, Jasmin, 7, who has Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

Starlia, 10, also had sleep-overs with Ashlee, 11.

"They were the most positive, fun-loving and generous people I knew," Ms Paynter said.

"Starlia was precious. She was the most well mannered, well adjusted child you would meet.

"The twins were amazing. For the disabilities and issues they've dealt with you wouldn't know because they were happy and full of life.

"Rachael was just an inspiration to me. You wouldn't meet a mother who could handle and cope so well and make so much progress with the difficulties her children had."

Ms Paynter last saw the Golinskis on the morning of Christmas Eve when they had been making plans for the Tewantin family to host Jasmin for a sleepover this week.

"Sage and Willow came to play while Rachael went to the gym and finished Christmas shopping," Ms Paynter said.

"We had a beautiful morning together. Rachael was really happy the girls had such a good time. We're lucky to have that memory."

Noosa disability support charity Sunshine Butterflies founder Leanne Walsh recalled supporting the Golinskis in the past.

"Rachael was a great advocate for her girls," she said.

"She refused the community to be anything but accepting and inclusive of her girls and she pushed for that."


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