“HE was a little boy who touched all our hearts, taught us what true courage really is and how to keep smiling, whatever happens.”
This moving tribute was paid to Jamie Inglis by the head teacher at his York school, after the seven-year-old youngster lost his battle against the rare cancer neuroblastoma.
Sheena Powley, head of Lord Deramore’s School in Heslington, where special memories were shared in a “Jamie assembly” yesterday morning, said: “What an amazing boy!”
She told The Press that Jamie had joined the school on February 8, 2011, following treatment in America.
“After his first week, we certainly knew we had got him as he was such a bundle of energy and mischief,” she said.
“He absolutely loved school. He had great fun in the outdoor learning environment building, making dens in the forest school, hiding spiders in the sand and playing tricks on his friends. His exuberance was amazing as was his capacity to embrace life. We will miss him greatly.”
Jamie’s parents Vicky and John, who thanked everyone for their “amazing support”, said on Facebook that after the shock of watching his life drain away as he took his last breath in their arms, the pain, fatigue and sadness were creeping in.
“We feel that Jamie has been cheated by coming so far on his journey, facing great adversity, and yet to succumb to a random virus during treatment seems so cruel,” they said.
“We have fought so hard to afford Jamie the very best chance and supported him as best we can, never giving up hope even when the opportunity for hope had long since faded away. The feeling of disappointment is crippling and the loss of a child unbearable.”
They said they would remain in Germany for a few days while preparations were made for Jamie to be brought home.
Earlier, Vicky said: “We have been truly blessed to bring such an amazing child into this world. Neuroblastoma only seeks out the best.
“The best is what Jamie is. Jamie fought with such dignity and to that end we owed him dignity at the very least.”
The lack of available treatment on the NHS meant Jamie’s family twice had to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for treatment in Germany, backed by the Neuroblastoma Alliance, and thousands of people in York donated to the cause.
A spokeswoman said that after Jamie’s treatment costs in Germany were covered, any remaining money would go to help other children with neuroblastoma, either through supporting other children’s appeals, or by funding research, or raising awareness.
Details of Jamie’s funeral will be made public once arrangements have been made.
Jamie twice won The Press Community Pride Child Of The Year award and Lawrence Christensen, of Benenden Healthcare, principal sponsors of the awards, said everyone at Benenden was heartbroken to hear the news.
“We first heard of Jamie through the York Community Pride Awards where he picked up the Child of the Year Award with his proud parents,” he said.
“Jamie was one of the bravest children you could meet, with bucket loads of spirit and we were all rooting for him whilst closely following his progress. We’d like to express our heartfelt condolences to his family at this difficult time.”
Francine Clee, deputy editor of The Press, said: “Jamie’s death is unbearably sad. His courage and sheer zest for life shone through everything we wrote about him, and it is impossible to believe that he is no longer with us. Our hearts go out to his family.”
TV chef’s sadness
JAMIE’S hero, the TV chef Jamie Oliver, has said he is “very saddened” by the news.
The chef met young Jamie and his parents at his new restaurant, Jamie’s Italian in Lendal, last autumn, when he pledged to support the youngster in his health battle.
He said yesterday: “He was an absolutely smashing kid and I’m honoured to have got the chance to meet him. “My thoughts are with all of his family.”