THE FAMILY of a baby who died from an incredibly rare lung condition have paid tribute to the tot who touched lives around the world.
Erin Field’s parents said they were “heartbroken” after the 14-month-old lost her battle, less than two weeks after becoming ill.
A fundraising campaign to pay for possible treatment abroad had already collected £4,000 when the tot died at Leeds General Infirmary last week.
Her family said they had been touched by hundreds of messages from throughout the globe received after her death.
Grandma Maria McHarrie, speaking on behalf of Erin’s parents Sarah and Robert, said: “Erin has touched thousands of lives across the world.
“There are messages coming in from New Zealand, America and Australia.
“We are just overwhelmed with messages and cards of support.
“It’s all inspired by a lovely little girl from Arthington. It’s incredible really.”
Erin, from Arthington, near Pool-in-Wharfedale, was taken ill earlier this month. At LGI, tests showed she had pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD).
The condition causes high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs and the chances of survival among children are poor.
Her family had started fundraising for a possible lung transplant in America, when Erin’s condition worsened and tragically, she died a week ago today.
Afterwards her mum told supporters on Facebook: “Myself and Rob are heartbroken. Our beautiful angel will rest in peace and never ever be forgotten.”
Erin’s grandma, 55, added: “It was just time for her to go. She just decided that was enough.”
She said the support from the community, her eight-year-old brother Bailey’s school in Otley and their church Our Lady and All Saints, as well as through social media had been “overwhelming”.
They were also backed by Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland, whose children attend the same school as Bailey.
Mrs McHarrie said the huge amount of support had given daughter and son-in-law some comfort.
“You just don’t think there’s any way to get release from the pain, but they keep looking at all the messages and it’s been amazing. It’s been a tremendous help,” she added.
Now her family intend to split money raised for Erin between The Sick Children’s Trust, which provides accommodation for parents at LGI which Sarah and Robert stayed in, and The British Lung Foundation. They may also look into setting up a charity solely for PVOD research.
Log on to http://erinfield.org or search for Erin Field Fundraising Campaign on Facebook.