A BRAVE schoolboy who suffered from a rare genetic condition lost his fight for life in the early hours of Boxing Day.
Calum Burdon, who was seven, died at home in Freckleton with his parents Carl and Emma just after midnight after being taken ill with a chest infection on December 22.
The youngster was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick condition (NPC), a degenerative disease which can lead to loss of mobility and speech.
Despite his illness, he was a popular pupil at Pear Tree School in Kirkham where he made a number of friends.
Today his heartbroken dad Carl said: “Calum died with all his family around him, it was very sad but he was brave right until the end.
“It was as though he waited until Christmas Day was over as he died just after midnight. He was a beautiful boy and he will leave a massive void in our lives which can never be filled.
“We are just very thankful we had him and that he is now at peace.”
Calum was born with an enlarged spleen, one of the symptoms of the condition, but he was almost two when he was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick type C.
The couple were concerned he was not running or jumping about like normal toddlers and doctors did genetic tests on him which confirmed he had the disease in May 2006.
According to the Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation, there are just 500 cases diagnosed worldwide.
There is currently no treatment available and no cure. Doctors told the family Calum was unlikely to live past the age of nine.
Mr Burdon added: “Calum helped to raise more than £50,000 for research into his condition during his short life.
“We will continue to fundraise and may try and organise a charity ball for next year.
“We are so grateful to Brian House Hospice who helped look after Calum and the staff at Pear Tree School.
“Without their help we would never have coped.”
Calum’s funeral has been arranged for 1.30pm on January 3 at Lytham Crematorium. All are welcome.
Donations to Niemann-Pick research can be made at www.calumburdon.co.uk