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Parents’ pride as brave Jack gets posthumous award

AWARD HONOUR ... the late Jack Leggett and, below, his proud parents Alfie Leggett and Susan Clarkson.

AWARD HONOUR ... the late Jack Leggett and, below, his proud parents Alfie Leggett and Susan Clarkson.

A BRAVE South Tyneside schoolboy, whose organs were donated to help save the lives of other youngsters, is to be recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Jack Leggett, nine, lost his battle with a brain tumour, just two months after being diagnosed, on December 22.

His devastated family allowed his organs to be donated, helping to save the lives of three people.

Now, the youngster has been put forward for a posthumous Order of St John award after being nominated by NHS Blood and Transplant.

The letter was delivered to his parents Alfie Leggett and Susan Clarkson last week, inviting the couple to an awards ceremony at Newcastle Civic Centre in October.

Mr Leggett, from Primrose Avenue, South Shields, said: “The letter just came out of the blue.

“When Susan opened it, she just burst into tears. It just makes us feel so proud that our son has helped to save lives, but also sad when we see our boy’s name in writing.

“It really is an honour for us to know our son has been recognised.

“It was a hard decision for us to make, but when we were asked we didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes’ to donating Jack’s organs. It was something we had to do to help save other people’s lives.”

Jack’s lungs went on to help save the life of another nine-year-old child, while his kidney and liver were used in other transplants.

His illness was discovered in October, when he had appeared to be suffering the same sickness virus as his brothers, twins James and Thomas, 11, but his parents became concerned as he was unsteady on his feet.

His parents took him to South Tyneside District Hospital and doctors then referred him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) for further tests. But within 24 hours, their lives changed forever, as the couple were told Jack was suffering from an aggressive brain tumour, which was inoperable.

Jack, a pupil at Holy Trinity School, underwent radiotherapy at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, five days a week for six weeks, as well as having weekly appointments at the RVI.

But after being found unconscious at home and readmitted to hospital just days before Christmas, his parents had to make the heartbreaking decision to switch off his life-support machine when doctors made it clear he couldn’t be saved.

People can register as an organ donor by contacting 0300 123 2323, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or by texting SAVE to 62323.

Twitter: @shieldsgazlisa

 

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