Thousands of balloons were released into the sky earlier today in a heartfelt tribute to Alfie Evans at a park near Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital.
The emotional scenes saw more than 1000 people of all generations gather for the tribute, holding blue and purple balloons, chanting Alfie’s name.
Mourners could be seen consoling each other in their grief, before the hundreds of balloons were released at about 2.50pm.
After the balloons were released into the atmosphere, the crowd began singing You’ll Never Walk Alone as the balloons soared, according to Mirror Online.
Hundreds of balloons have been released at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in memory of 23-month-old Alfie Evans. The toddler died in the early hours of this morning. #AlfieEvans #AlderHey #AlfiesArmy pic.twitter.com/hg0LTgtZRt
— Adam McClean (@AdamMcCleanITV) April 28, 2018
Addressing the crowd, Alfie’s aunt, Sarah Evans, said:
I just want to thank you all for coming today. Our gorgeous little warrior took his last breath at 2.30 this morning. Our hearts are broken.
We are absolutely shattered as a family. Thomas [Alfie’s dad] just wants to thank you all for the support you’ve all shown. There’s only one Alfie Evans.
Alfie died last night (April 28), five days after his life support was switched off.
— martyn toft (@martyntoft) April 28, 2018
Tom wrote a statement on Facebook, saying:
My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30, absolutely heartbroken. I LOVE YOU MY GUY.
The parents of Alfie did not attend the memorial at the park today.
Just recently, up to 200 people had been protesting outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital after European human rights judges rejected a plea to intervene from his mum and dad.
Alfie, just 23-months-old, had been fighting for his life since 2016 when he contracted a chest infection, triggering a spiral of different illnesses.
After being taken to hospital for treatment of his chest infection, Alfie began having severe epileptic seizures and was diagnosed with bronchitis, the common cold, a chest infection, RSV [respiratory syncytial virus], pneumonia and two other illnesses which left him exhausted.
At the beginning of 2017, Alfie’s parents were told he would only have hours to live, but he defied all expectations and fought off three infections.
Despite ‘coming off life support three times’ and managing to take breaths here and there, the parents claimed doctors at Alder Hey Hospital suggested it was best to switch off Alfie’s life support machine.
In a Facebook post at the time, Thomas said:
Doctors tried pushing us into turning off his life-support machine, but we refused then and always will.
We stayed with him all day and night, sang to him, loved him, kissed him, hugged him and begged him to stay! From that day he has fought and is still here.
He has continually defied all odds, and proven Drs and nurses wrong about him surviving and is still fighting! We still get asked by doctors removing his life-support machine but he can fight, and he does so come of it in his own time.
— Kev (@KevBlank9) April 28, 2018
He is currently intubated and has a ventilator helping him to breath, but is also seen by doctors and family taking breaths himself . He has come off life support 3 times and shown he can manage a maximum of 13 days without the ventilator.
Doctors are saying they have exhausted all (their) diagnostic testing and they consulted with GOSH [Great Ormond Street Hospital] for a second “opinion” but neither parties can find out what is wrong with Alfie , and therefore Alder Hay is asking us to terminate all life-support measures and “allow him to die peacefully”.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.