Family thank town after loss of son

A GRIEVING family has thanked people for supporting them as they try to come to terms with the tragic loss of their baby son.

Joanne Johnson and partner James Stewart have been overwhelmed with support since six-month old Michael lost his brave battle.

Their son, who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, died on January 11, after overcoming countless medical challenges.

The couple spent 10 minutes with Michael after he was born on July 8 before he was taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

He underwent more than 30 medical procedures during his short life.

Miss Johnson, 27, of Lismore Walk, Corby, said: “He fought long and hard. No matter what was happening to him, he kept smiling.

“Even when he had chest drains, he would be happy and it didn’t bother him. In November we were told there was nothing else they could do for him.

“When the doctors were saying he was dying they were saying ‘he has amazed us before – he might amaze us again’.

“He was tired, he needed to go. If he didn’t want to die, he would have fought it like he fought everything else. He is at peace now.”

The family was able to spend Christmas at home with Michael for 14 days – the longest period he had spent out of hospital.

During a stay in Kettering General Hospital he was visited by Christine Hamilton, who was performing in Cinderella at Kettering’s Lighthouse Theatre.

While in Great Ormond Street last year, television presenter Dermot O’Leary visited him on his ward.

Michael, who also leaves his sister Shannon, five, was admitted to the Kettering hospital on January 2.

Mr Stewart, 25, said: “They told us it was 50/50 whether he would make the journey from Kettering to Great Ormond Street but we got there on the Sunday morning. He died peacefully in his mother’s arms with me holding his hands.”

Miss Johnson paid tribute to the hospital staff.

She said: “They knew him as well as we knew him. They really cared for him.”

She added: “I would like to thank everyone who has shown us support and sent cards and flowers.

“Corby is like a little family and seems to come together at times like this.”

People in Corby raised about £400 from a quiz night at the Everard Arms pub on Thursday to be used to help with funeral costs and with a donation for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

The funeral is on Monday at St Ninian’s Church, Beanfield Avenue, Corby, at 10am. He will be buried alongside Miss Johnson’s late father, Michael.