The death of Alfie Evans, the legal battle toddler, has made people from all across the world to pour in their thoughts and hearts and shared the grief with his parents. Amid an outpouring of grief from well-wishers, including Pope Francis, more than 1,000 people gathered near Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where the little toddler was being treated, in Liverpool to mourn Alfie’s death early Saturday morning.
Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler from Merseyside, who had a degenerative brain condition, died at 02:30 on Saturday. He died nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn. His father Tom Evans has announced his death on Facebook.
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings… absolutely heartbroken.”
Little Alfie had been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year and scans of his brain had shown that almost all of it had been destroyed.
His parents had insisted their son was not in pain or suffering and heavily criticised medical staff, with Mr. Evans suggesting his son was a “prisoner” at the hospital and had been misdiagnosed. They took on a legal battle for their little son against the hospital. But judges had agreed with doctors that further treatment would be futile and that there was no hope of him getting better. They lost all legal challenges to the court ruling allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation. And the boy had his life support withdrawn on Monday and he died on early Saturday.
Alfie Evans is no more, but how social media fired up ‘Alfie’s Army’ and turned his parents’ battle with doctors into a worldwide movement is praiseworthy.
Thousands of people from all over the world got behind the parents of Alfie Evans in the desperate battle to keep their toddler alive. The ‘Alfie’s Army’ Facebook page grew from a small group of family and friends to a global movement. Alfie’s parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, used the official Facebook page to share updates with their followers, which saw hundreds of them flock to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where he was being treated.
The supporters saw the hospital put on lockdown after threats were made to burn down the hospital and rumors swirled about a planned raid. Demonstrators also set up shrines and a bouncy castle for children to play in outside.
The legal campaign, launched by Alfie’s parents, attracted widespread attention. The case drew international support including from Pope Francis, who asked that “their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted”.
After an outpouring of support from the Pope, the Italian and Polish community rallied around Alfie’s Army, holding vigils in Krakow and Vatican City. A candlelit ceremony was held in support of the youngster outside the British embassy in Poland and St Peter’s Square outside the Vatican.
Alfie’s Army also called for people to sign an online petition that asked for the Queen to intervene in the youngster’s treatment.
The petition, which surpassed its target of 150,000 names, asked Her Majesty to step in after the High Court judge ruled doctors could turn off Alfie’s life-support. Started by family friend Kayleigh Price, the petition reads: ‘We the undersigned humbly petition Your Majesty for protection of life and liberty of your 23-month-old subject Alfie Evans.’
Alfie was granted Italian citizenship on Monday, with the country’s government saying it hoped the toddler could have an “immediate transfer to Italy”.
However, two days later the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling preventing the toddler from traveling abroad after life support was withdrawn.
Four days after his life support was withdrawn, Thomas Evans instructed supporters to abandon their protests in the hope medics would let his son leave the hospital, but he died at 2.30am. Alfie, who was born in May 2016, was first admitted to the hospital the following December after suffering seizures and had been a patient ever since. May the little soul rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers to the family.