kids

In his final hours in this world, Charlie uttered six heartbreaking words to his mum. 

Tens of thousands of people followed Charlie Proctor’s plight on Facebook. Every few days, sometimes more, the five-year-old British boy’s mother, Amber Schofield, would offer them glimpses into their world; the hospital visits, the medications, the tiny moments of hope.

Then on Saturday, came the update everyone dreaded.

After two years struggling against a rare liver cancer, Charlie had taken his last breath.

“He fell asleep peacefully cuddled in my arms with daddy’s arms wrapped around us,” Amber wrote on the Charlie’s Chapter page. “Our hearts are aching. The world has lost an incredible little boy.

“Charlie, you gave me chance to be a mum. You have been, not only our biggest inspiration but you have been an inspiration to thousands of people all over the world. You showed me what love really means Charlie. Now it’s time to fly, I am so, so proud of you. You fought this so hard.”

Just hours earlier, Amber had warned that the end was near, and shared one last photo of what hepatoblastoma had done to her little boy. Once a “chunky”, cuddly child, Charlie had been left thin and fragile, with sunken cheeks, bulging eyes, yellowed skin.

“He’s sad, he’s tired, he’s fed up and depressed,” Amber wrote. “‘I don’t know what to do anymore’ are his main words… Today, he’s been very agitated, wanting to lay down, sit up, lay in bed, then on the beanbag, then on the sofa, then back upstairs and so on.

“Charlie, at one point, turned to me and said in the most quiet, panting voice, ‘Mummy, I’m so sorry for this.’ He was sorry because he wanted to move again and he felt he had to apologise for that? So now I know he also feels like he’s some what ‘in the way’. My heart broke! No child should feel the emotions Charlie is feeling. No child! No parent should watch their child slowly go.”

The last photo of Charlie. Image: Facebook.
ADVERTISEMENT

Hepatoblastoma is rare cancer that begins in the liver, and most commonly affects children under the age of three. Charlie was diagnosed in February 2016, and after being denied coverage for a liver transplant through England's National Health Service, Amber and her husband, Ben, launched an international appeal for donations so he could undergo the surgery in the United States.

The campaign caught the attention of US singer Pink, who shared the family's crowdfunding page with her more than five million followers.

Despite generous donations from strangers, in October, Charlie's condition deteriorated and doctors advised them against making the journey and to instead spend time making memories with their little boy.

In the last post before her son's death, Amber wrote that, in a way, her mourning had already begun.

"How can I miss him so much when he’s [laying] beside me? But I do. I miss him. I miss just having a chat, a cuddle that doesn’t cause pain. I miss squeezing him and kissing him all over. I miss his smile, knowing I won’t see that smile again other than in pictures, I will never hear Charlie laugh again.

"Hold your babies tight and cuddle and kiss them so much. You don’t realise how lucky you are. We all take life for granted."

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???