Two weeks before his first birthday, the parents of terminally ill child Charlie Gard have given up their fight to save their son's life - with one last wish: for Charlie to be able to spend his final moments at home with his family.
Charlie was diagnosed at just eight weeks old with a rare genetic disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes muscle weakness and brain damage.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates have been fighting for months for permission to fly their ill child from the UK to the US to undergo experimental treatment.
They started a GoFundMe page on to raise money for the travel expenses and medical costs, hitting their target of $2.2m AUD, however, the courts ruled that transporting Charlie across countries would only lead to further suffering.
Yesterday, in a statement delivered to press outside the UK High Court, father Chris Gard said “too much time has been wasted” and that Charlie’s illness has deteriorated “to the point of no return.”
“There is one simple reason why treatment cannot now go ahead," he said.
"We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to lie in hospital for months without any treatment while lengthy court battles have been fought."
"Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal healthy little boy.”
Now the heartbroken parents want to be able to take Charlie home for a "few days of tranquillity outside the hospital," family lawyer Grant Armstrong said in a written statement.
However, Great Ormond Street Hospital’s lawyer, Katie Gollop, said they want “above all” to fulfil the parents’ last wish, but that Charlie's equipment and life support could not be provided at home.
“The care plan must be safe, it must spare Charlie all pain and protect his dignity,” she said, before suggesting a hospice where the family would be left alone with their baby.
The judge, who has been working on the case for months, will make his final decision on Wednesday (UK time).
“Our son is an absolute warrior," Chris Gard said in his original statement yesterday.
"His body heart and soul may soon be gone but his spirit will live on for eternity and it will make a difference to people’s lives for years to come. We will make sure of that."
“We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie, who unfortunately won’t make his first birthday in just under two weeks,” he said.
“To Charlie, we say from Mummy and Daddy we love you so much. We always have and we always will and we are so sorry we couldn’t save you.”