Fundraising appeal launched after baby dies from rare illness

A family has launched a fundraising appeal following the death of an eight-month-old baby who died from a rare childhood illness.

Alexander Parsons, from Plymouth, died last month at Bristol Children’s Hospital after being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, his family said.

It mainly affects children under the age of five, with symptoms including a high temperature, rashes, swelling and a toxic shock style response.

Medical experts believe up to 100 children in the UK have been affected from a condition similar to Kawasaki disease, which has been linked to coronavirus.

I can’t believe I carried him for longer than he was alive

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last month that experts are investigating the new syndrome in children “with great urgency” but has stressed it is rare.

Research led by Imperial College London is looking at the characteristics of those who have been admitted to hospital, while information regarding the illness is being shared across the international community.

Alexander had initially been admitted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth in the first week of April and diagnosed with the condition.

When his health worsened, he was transferred to Bristol Children’s Hospital but passed away on April 25.

Alexander’s mother Kathryn Rowlands, 29, told the Sunday Mirror: “I can’t believe I carried him for longer than he was alive. I will never be whole again.

“And more parents will be in the same unimaginable position unless the Government starts to listen to the advice of scientists and stops gambling with people’s lives.

“The doctors and nurses who fought to save Alex were incredible – but if they’d known more about the Covid-Kawasaki link, they possibly could have done more.”

Ms Rowlands told the newspaper her son did not have any known underlying health conditions and was pictured smiling and playing just hours before he suffered a ruptured aneurysm.

She and Alexander’s father, Jon Parsons, are now waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination and planning their son’s funeral.

They have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness of the possible links between coronavirus and Kawasaki-like symptoms and have already raised over £10,000.

Writing on JustGiving.com, Alexander’s aunt Hannah Rowlands said: “Alexander tested negative every time for Covid-19 via a nasal swab.

“Since then there has been much talk of ‘paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome’ – possibly associated with SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, with a number of children and adolescents being affected and diagnosed with Kawasaki disease and/or toxic shock syndrome.

“His parents, in his memory, want to raise awareness of this possible Kawasaki disease/PIMS to prevent the heartache and suffering of any other families.

“They want to highlight the symptoms that he had and the importance of seeking medical advice in such a turbulent and scary time.

“They also want to raise money for bereavement support, any additional funeral costs and a memorial for Alex.

“This will in some way, hopefully help them to slowly rebuild their lives and take the time that they need to grieve without the added pressure to return to ‘normality’.”

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