AN AFGHANISTAN veteran has launched a last-ditch appeal for recruits to join his battle to save the life of a severely-ill toddler who is just days away from having his life-support turned off.
Dad-of-two Chris Hargrave, of Kirpal Road, Copnor, is leading the charge in a campaign to save tiny Alfie Evans, who has been desperately ill for more than a year.
The 22-month-old tot has been stricken with a mysterious brain illness that, as yet, medics have been unable to diagnose.
Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital want to switch off Alfie’s ventilator.
But the baby’s parents, Thomas Evans and Katie James, are battling against this, having been in a long-running legal row to keep their lad on life-support.
Earlier this year, the British High Court ruled it was in Alfie’s best interests to switch off his ventilation against the wishes of his parents, who want to fly him abroad for treatment.
In a crushing blow, a bid to appeal the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights was rejected on Thursday.
Now Mr Hargrave is rallying in an effort to try and get more people to sign a petition urging the government to intervene and save Alfie’s life.
The 34-year-old said: ‘Alfie’s story has left me an emotional wreck.
‘I have been up in the early hours campaigning for him.
‘It’s a story that’s very close to home. My son Theo was in intensive care for the first couple of months of his life.
‘That was the scariest time of my life where I struggled very badly with anxiety. I kept thinking: “We’re going to lose him”. That was only for a few weeks – Alfie’s parents have faced this for 18 months. I can’t begin to understand how that must feel.’
Theo suffered a major bleed at birth which threatened to damage his brain. Now four, the youngster has recovered from the ordeal and is fit and healthy.
‘He received outstanding care from the team at Queen Alexandra Hospital,’ said Chris. ‘If only Alfie was given this.’
Chris is now looking for people from the city to sign a petition calling for action. So far, more than 220,000 people from across the globe have signed up.
It comes ahead of planned protests across the country today.
Chris added he had sent messages to Portsmouth MPs Penny Mordaunt and Stephen Morgan to support the campaign but had yet to receive a reply.
To sign the petition, see change.org/p/we-demand-alder-hey-to-release-alfie-evans-to-a-hospital-of-his-parents-choice.