Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WITH His Favourite Mickey Mouse Figures Hanging on [...]; Couple Mark Sad First Christmas without Their Son

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

WITH His Favourite Mickey Mouse Figures Hanging on [...]; Couple Mark Sad First Christmas without Their Son

Article excerpt

Byline: SARAH SCOTT

WITH his favourite Mickey Mouse figures hanging on the Christmas tree, Ethan Burdis's parents ensured a piece of him watched over them this festive season.

This December should have been a month of celebrations for little Ethan's parents Suzanne and Paul, marking his first birthday ahead of Christmas. But instead the couple are ending the worst year of their lives after losing Ethan to a rare neuromuscular condition.

At just three months he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and was given a life expectancy of six months to two years in March.

Ethan struggled with various chest infections and was in and out of hospital because his diaphragm could not help his lungs remove secretions his muscles were too weak to get rid of. Following a four-month battle with the condition, their little fighter passed away cradled in Suzanne's arms at St Oswald's Hospice in Gosforth, Newcastle, on July 24.

However, Suzanne and Paul, of Dunston, Gateshead, are determined not to dwell on how short Ethan's life was, but on all the joy and happiness he brought to them and everyone he met.

"It was always our joke that he was flirting with all the nurses, everyone remembers his sparkling eyes and flirty nature. The nurses used to fight over him," said 31-year-old Suzanne.

"He was one of those ones who always had people in his room, he just had an infectious personality and of course he was gorgeous," she said.

And in testimony to the lasting impact Ethan had on so many lives, more than pounds 10,000 has already been raised in his honour for the Jennifer Trust which funds research into SMA and supports those with the condition.

Through donations following his Mickey Mouse-themed funeral and a skydive and other fundraisers, the couple think they are around the pounds 13,000 mark. …

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