How the legacy of South Shields baby Carter Cookson will live on
The legacy of left by Carter Cookson will live on because of the way his plight raised awareness of the shortage of organ available for donation.
The youngster was born on Boxing Day but - just hours after he came into the world - he began to have health complications.Carter suffered three heart attacks and just days later underwent heart surgery.
After the surgery doctors told his parents, Sarah and Chris, from South Shields, that their son urgently needed a heart transplant to survive.
The couple were told there was just five weeks to find Carter a heart.
While their son was Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital they made the decision to attach him to an Ecmo machine - which oxygenated his blood and pumped it back into his tiny body.
In the days that followed the couple launched a social media campaign #findaheartforcarter which was backed by the community across the region and further afield.
The campaign helped to raise awareness of Carter’s plight and the importance of signing up to the organ donation register.
Sadly, despite the widespread support, the little boy died on January 19, - aged just 25 days - after a donor heart could not be found in time.
At his funeral service Chris Carter said: “Our son was here for a reason, to change something, and that something was for organ donation.
“We all know he has made a huge impact in getting so many people to sign up.”
Tragically it is the second time that parents Sarah and Chris have had to say goodbye to a child.
The couple first son, Charlie, died aged two in October 2013 after a long struggle against a series of mystery health problems.
Charlie received regular hospital treatment for muscle and bone problems before also suffering from a blood disorder.
In early 2012, scans also revealed that Charlie had epilepsy.
He was later awarded the South Tyneside Child of Courage Award in April 2013, before passing away in October that year.
In his memory Sarah and Chris created the Charlie Cookson Foundation, which provides financial support to parents of seriously ill children with life limiting conditions.