The parents of a brain-damaged boy will on Thursday beg a judge not to allow their son’s life-support machines to be switched off.
Desperate dad Tom Evans, 21, says 20-month-old Alfie, who is in hospital in Liverpool, “is not dying – he is improving”.
Stars are backing Alfie’s parents as they try to stop doctors from getting permission to end life support for their brain-damaged lad.
I’m a Celebrity trio Jamie Lomas, Dennis Wise and Rebekah Vardy visited the 20-month-old in hospital.
Rebekah tweeted: “Today Alfie squeezed my finger every time I tickled his little hand. I watched him with my own eyes reacting to his dad’s touch.
“He is sucking a dummy & spitting it out, he is using his senses. Please help Alfie & his family to save him.”
The hospital said it has exhausted all options in trying to diagnose and treat the lad’s mystery brain condition.
He is in a “semi-vegetative state”.
His parents Tom and Kate James, 20, from Liverpool, say specialists have told them he cannot use his senses.
On Thursday they will ask a High Court judge not to allow his life support at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to be switched off.
They dispute some of the hospital’s findings and want to take their son to doctors in Italy.
They hope the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome could pinpoint what is wrong with him and that he can be treated.
The same facility offered to help tragic Charlie Gard last year.
The couple say if nothing can be done, then they want to take him home to die. His dad said: “At the moment we are not willing to let him die.
“But if we have turned all the stones over and don’t wake our child up… we will wait for him to deteriorate and let him die in his own way.
“We can take him home and still care for him but knowing he will die in our home, knowing we have tried everything.”
Tom added: “He still has function of the brain, he still reacts. We believe Alfie is not dying. He is improving.”
The parents know that if he survives, he will be severely disabled. He has a neurological condition that is not definitively diagnosed.
The judge Mr Justice Hayden visited Alfie on Tuesday before the start of the hearing to decide his fate at the Civil and Family Court in Liverpool.
Tom is due to represent the couple himself and plans to ask the judge to adjourn the case while they find a new legal team.
A JustGiving page has raised almost £60,000 towards treatment abroad. And nearly 70,000 people have signed a change.org petition asking Alder Hey to allow his parents to take him elsewhere. Alder Hey said: “We understand this is an incredibly difficult time for the family.
“Alder Hey is a specialist children’s hospital which therefore means we treat many children with often complex, life-threatening conditions.
“Unfortunately despite the best efforts of our clinicians, some children are sadly unable to recover from their illness.
“Medical professionals will meet to discuss the most appropriate care plan going forward, focusing on the comfort, wellbeing and best interests of the child.
“We will always seek to reach agreement with parents but there will be some rare situations where agreement cannot be reached and the treating team believe that continued active treatment is not in a child’s best interests.”
Alfie’s parents say he was a normal healthy baby but at four months “went downhill and stopped developing”.
In December 2016 he developed a chest infection and suffered seizures in hospital as his condition worsened.
Days later specialists said they feared he had just hours to live.
Alfie survived but remains on a ventilator as his parents continue their battle.
Heartbreak of rulings
A High Court judge last year ruled doctors could stop life-support treatment for baby Charlie Gard.
Mum Connie Yates and dad Chris Gard wanted him to have trial therapy in the US for his rare genetic disease.
He died in July.
And this week the parents of brain-damaged 11-month-old Isaiah Haastrup lost a High Court bid to keep his life-support machine on.