Surrounded by teddies and in his father’s arms, little Jack Johnstone died after a courageous battle with Cystic Fibrosis.
The 10-year-old from Clayton-le-Woods had been airlifted to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London two weeks ago, having gone into respiratory arrest.
His body had rejected a double lung transplant, carried out in November 2015, aimed at giving him a new lease of life.
“It gave him an extra 12 months, which he was blessed for”, said family friend Stephen Wilson, 48.
He added: “Jack was an inspiration to all CF sufferers. He just got on with it, he wouldn’t let it beat him.
“He loved Lego and he loved magic. He touched so many hearts with his sense of humout and his smile. He was a loving person, he loved his sister to bits.”
Just days ago Jack’s parents Kevin and Tina spoke about their wish of having Jack at home this Christmas, along with nine-year-old daughter Izzy.
But having left London to be at home with Izzy, Kevin, 37, received the devastating news his son’s health was deteriorating rapidly.
On Facebook on Wednesday he wrote: “At midnight I received a call from Tina informing me that Jack’s lungs had become a lot worse and they feared he would not make it through the night. I arrived in London at 4.30am and asked the nursing team to remove he ventilation tubes. The tubes were removed at 8.30am and he peacefully passed away shortly afterwards lying in my arms in his bed with his teddies. We are absolutely devastated. Thank you all of your support.”
Tributes left in reply describe Jack as the “strongest, most brave and inspirational little boy ever”, “the bravest little soldier” and “one of the brightest little lights”.
In a bid to bring some cheer to the family, earlier this week Stephen had organised for volunteers to decorate the Johnstone’s home as a winter wonderland. This was completed the day Jack died.
“We scaled it back because it was too heartbreaking”, said Stephen.
“But I didn’t want them to come home to nothing. We had a snow machine, filled the garden with Christmas trees and decorated all of Izzy’s room.
“Pupils at Farington Primary School where she goes had all made decorations and that was unbelievable, really nice of them.”
Stephen is now fundraising for Jack’s funeral, and intends to set up the Jack Johnstone Memorial Fund for all children in the PR postcode area suffering from Cystic Fibrosis and Cerebral Palsy.
To donate to the funeral fund, visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stephen-wilson