A grief-stricken mum today spoke of the tragic moment her terminally ill son died in her arms.
Brave Charlie Jordan, 11, travelled the world and swam with sharks in his final months after being diagnosed with a rare brain tumour.
But his ‘amazing year’ ended with his family around him as he lay in bed at Brian House Children’s Hospice.
Mum Emma, 36, of Thornton, said: “I had just washed and dried his hair. We put him on the bed and laid his head on my lap. He looked pale. Then his whole face changed, and he was my Charlie again.
“He took his last few breaths with everyone he loved around him.
“It was peaceful and beautiful.”
Brave Charlie was diagnosed with DIPG – a highly aggressive brain tumour – in January last year. The youngster underwent five weeks of gruelling radiotherapy at the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre in Wirral before returning to St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School as a Year 6 pupil in September, where he enjoyed learning about science and English.
His health deteriorated badly after Christmas and he was moved from his Orchard Close home in Thornton to Brian House Hospice, where he died one month later.
Emma said: “I don’t really know what I’m feeling. I’ll be okay one minute and the next I’ll be in tears.
“We gave Charlie the most amazing year.
“We went to Disneyland in Florida and Universal Studios. We went to see Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London. He’s fed sharks.
“We went to Lapland and met Father Christmas. He met Sam and Mark and Dick and Dom from CBBC.
“He was so happy.”
Between 20 and 30 children are diagnosed with DIPG every year and there is currently no effective treatment as the tumour grows within the brainstem, which controls vital functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate and blood pressure.
Emma said: “Normally around 90 per cent of children diagnosed with DIPG don’t make it past 12 months, but Charlie did.
“His little heart never stopped fighting until the very end.
“The last little thing he tried to say was ‘mum’.
“I’m staying with my parents at the moment because I can’t face going home, because it was where me and Charlie lived. It was our home.”
Charlie, who Emma described as ‘witty’ and ‘clever’, was a fan of Roald Dahl and American author James Dashner, and had big dreams of becoming a writer himself someday.
Tributes to his bravery were posted on social media after news of his death was announced on his Facebook page, Charlie’s Superheroes.
Emma said: “Everyone has been so supportive.
“Nobody has a bad word to say about him – they all say how lovely he was.
“He was so brave and I’m so proud of him.
“He had such a cheeky little smile and he made all the other children laugh.
“We’re all absolutely devastated.”
Charlie’s funeral will take place on Tuesday at St Teresa’s Church on St Teresa’s Avenue, Anchorsholme, at 9.15am.