A baby girl who lost her four-month struggle for life has been described as “a real fighter” by her grieving family.
Katie-Rose Bayley, who was born with Down’s Syndrome and a host of other medical problems, appeared to be beating all the odds until she was struck down by a flu bug her tiny body could not cope with.
Now an entire community will come together next month to raise money for charity in memory of the courageous tot.
“Katie-Rose was such a fighter, we can’t believe she’s gone,” said heartbroken mum Julie. “Despite all her problems, she was such a pleasant little girl. We just feel helpless and lost.
“We were given a little angel and now she’s been taken back.”
Katie-Rose’s death has touched so many people in Preston that friends of the Bayley family are planning a huge fun day to give other children in the Plungington area of the city a party in her name.
She was such a special little girl and for her sake we want this fun day to a special day out for everyone in the community.
The event will be held in the function room of Arkwright’s in Plungington Road on May 14.
Local businesses have donated raffle prizes and the proceeds will go to the Down’s Syndrome Association
“We’ve got all sorts of things planned,” said friend Natalie Gregoire. “There are cake stalls, balloons, DJs and the raffle prizes are brilliant. Everyone has been so generous.”
Katie-Rose died on March 1 after a brave battle for life.
Mum Julie and dad Larry, who have six other children aged from five to 26, say they now want to give her the party she never had.
“We can’t buy her anything any more,” said Julie at home in Brackenbury Road. “It’s so hard. All we can do is remember just what a lovely child she was.
“This party is something we are doing for her, in her honour. And we want any money raised to go to the Down’s Syndrome Association because they would have helped us if Katie-Rose had lived.
“She had such a difficult and short life. She was born with Down’s, she also had a problem with her bowels which was successfully operated on when she was only three days old.
“She had two holes in her heart and she was due to have those operated on in March. She had pulmonary hypertension as well.
“But then she was taken into hospital with what we thought was a cold and it turned out to be swine flu. She fought off the virus, but her little lungs were too badly damaged and on February 26 she suffered a cardiac arrest.
“The doctors told us she had only a one per cent chance of surviving through the weekend, but she did. But then on the Tuesday she had a second and she died. She had just had enough.
“She was such a special little girl and for her sake we want this fun day to a special day out for everyone in the community. We can’t thank them all enough for how they have rallied round.
“Larry and I can’t believe the response we have had from all the community. There is a great spirit here in Plungington and everyone is getting involved.”