THE loving mum of a terminally ill eight-year-old who passed away on Tuesday has said she has “no regrets” about taking him to Mexico for treatment.
Jennifer Ure Stewart told the Evening News the nine trips to the Monterrey Vale Clinic where her son Luke received 14 sets of treatment for an aggressive brain tumour known as Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) had prolonged the youngster’s life by around a year.
The proud mum from Tranent now plans to continue her campaign for funding to be made available to research a cure for DIPG and said it was her dream to build a hospice in East Lothian to honour her son’s legacy and help other terminally ill children.
Heartbroken Jennifer and husband Mark, who have two other boys, Lewis, aged six, and two-year-old Lochlin, set up the JustGiving page Help Luke, which raised an incredible £187,000. The money was used to give their son ground-breaking treatment in Mexico to prolong his life.
Luke was diagnosed in January 2017 and passed away at the Rachel House Hospice in Kinross at 5.25am on Tuesday.
He was only given between six and nine months to live by doctors in Scotland and told the NHS could only provide him with radiotherapy to allow him a semblance of quality of life.
However, the brave youngster defied the odds before succumbing to the effects of pneumonia.
Jennifer said she would do the same thing “ten times over” in making the decision to take Luke to Mexico.
She said: “I have no regrets. If we hadn’t done that, we would have lost Luke over a year ago.
“We got probably over a year more with Luke and it was quality time.
“He wasn’t in and out of hospital, he wasn’t lying in a bed, he wasn’t sick. He had a quality life and he enjoyed so much of that. I think as a family we packed more into 19 months than we might have done in a whole lifetime because of the time we spent together.
“He loved going to Mexico. He loved the people over there, he loved travelling and he really enjoyed it.”
Jennifer described Luke’s last days and said he was still able to tell his family he loved them, communicating by raising his eyes.
She said: “It was more than pneumonia. As soon as he got the first bout, he had three bouts after that and his lungs were not functioning properly and he was losing the capacity to breath because of the mucus that had built up.
“But he surprised every doctor there because he was only given days left and Luke lived another two weeks after that and he chose when he was ready to go.
“We all slept in the same bed for two weeks and he fought to the bitter end.
“We told him every day how much we loved him and he knew how much we loved him.”
A minute’s applause was held for Luke in the eighth minute of the Hibs match against NSI Runavik on Thursday night.
The family is now planning a celebration of his life with a service at Liberton Kirk on Wednesday followed by his funeral at Mortonhall Crematorium.
There are also plans for a party to honour Luke on Sunday, July 22 at the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club.