A battling tot affected by a rare and incurable condition has lost his fight for life.
Baby Anthony Rushe, who turned one in December, died peacefully at his home in Ashton, Preston, on Saturday evening, surrounded by his dad Tony Rushe, mum Jenna Bannon and their pet dog Baxter.
The youngster was six-months-old when he was diagnosed with Krabbe Disorder, an extremely rare condition which only affects one in 100,000 babies.
Anthony, known to many as AJ, was found to have the condition after he kept crying all the time and at first, doctors believed he had a bad case of colic.
Krabbes Disorder is a cruel disease which meant that even though Anthony was healthy and well, he would deteriorate and lose all his abilities and eventually not be able to breathe.
Anthony’s heartbroken parents Tony and Jenna were given the devastating prognosis that Anthony, who had not smiled since he was two-and-a-half months old, was only expected to live until the age of one.
Lisa Sen, Anthony’s grandmother, who lives in Penwortham, near Preston, today spoke of her pride in her son Tony and his partner Jenna for the devoted way they looked after Anthony and made sure his short life was as happy as possible.
Lisa said: “Anthony chose his own moment and died peacefully at home with his parents and dog Baxter who lay down next to him.
“Anthony managed to give his parents his first birthday and sneaked in an extra Christmas before losing his battle.
“Anthony not only touched so many people’s lives, he changed so many people’s lives and attitudes.
“I feel such immense pride in Tony and Jenna for how they handled everything and how they have been with each other through it all.
“They know Anthony will always be with them and always be part of the family.”
The family have praised staff at Derian House Children’s Hospice for their amazing support through Anthony’s life.
A petition launched in Anthony’s name to raise the number of diseases screened for during the heel prick test has now collected more than 25,000 signatures.