Little Max Olivares, who had pulmonary vein stenosis, died on April 17 aged 16 months – having spent his whole life being cared for at Southampton General Hospital.
Max was born at 27 weeks in December 2016, weighing just 2lb 2oz, but lost his battle with the rare and serious heart condition he had.
Now, his parents Hannah Bloomfield and Wayne Olivares, from Havant, want to invite those who loved and supported Max to the horse and carriage procession before his funeral on Thursday, and to bring with them a single flower.
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‘So many people loved Max and followed his journey,’ said mum Hannah, 24.
‘People we didn’t even know would send us messages of support throughout his time in hospital, he was very popular, so we feel it’s right to share the last part of his journey with everyone and give them an opportunity to say goodbye.
‘We’ll be coming down the road outside the Oaks Crematorium in Havant in a horse and carriage, with Max in a casket inside.
‘We’d love people to come along and watch, and instead of bringing big bunches of flowers, bring a single flower to either throw at the carriage or on the casket as he is carried into the crematorium.
‘Seating inside the crematorium is only for family, friends and nurses, but people can gather outside where there will be speakers, and listen to the ceremony.
‘I think if Max could talk he would say “I want everyone there, mum” – he loved attention and loved being cuddled by everyone he came into contact with, so that’s why we’re doing this.’
Max will be cremated and buried at a later date.
The youngster underwent numerous operations throughout his time in hospital.
The News reported on Max’s 1st birthday in 2017, as Hannah and partner Wayne, 29, were unsure if it would be his last.
Hannah said because Max’s health had taken bad turns before, she thought he’d pull through after struggling last month.
Hannah added: ‘We’ve been in the situation where we thought Max was going to die a few times, but he always bounced back, so we thought he would again, but it got to the stage where we realised this time was different.
‘His oxygen levels had been sitting lower than usual for a few days and his fingers had started to go blue.
‘On the day of his death he had deteriorated so much – he was just telling us it was his time to go.
‘Our hearts are broken, he was the most perfect, gorgeous little boy, and his smile stole everyone’s hearts.
‘We love him so much and words can’t explain how much we miss him.’
The funeral is at 10.45am at The Oaks Crematorium in Havant, on Thursday. Max’s parents are asking people to arrive about 20 minutes earlier to see the horse and carriage procession.
Pulmonary vein stenosis creates a blockage in the blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood from the lungs back to the heart.