Tribute fund set up to remember brave West Lothian schoolboy

The family were left heartbroken after PJ Cockburn (12) died after bravely losing his battle to a rare liver disease.
The family were left heartbroken after PJ Cockburn (12) died after bravely losing his battle to a rare liver disease.
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The family of a West Lothian schoolboy who died due to a rare medical condition have set up a fund in his name to raise money for the Edinburgh hospital where he was treated.

Paul James Cockburn, known as PJ, was only 12 when he died last year as a result of short bowel syndrome, a condition where the body can’t properly absorb nutrients from food.

Mum Sajda Qadir with kids Aimee (9) and PJ Cockburn (6)

Mum Sajda Qadir with kids Aimee (9) and PJ Cockburn (6)

When PJ, from Linlithgow, was just 11 months old he had to have a liver transplant as a result of his condition at the Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital.

PJ’s aunt, Elaine Campbell, said: “The condition PJ was born with meant he underwent surgery at a very young age and we were actually told he had just days to live before the life-saving procedure.”

The youngster was able to live a full life until his health took a turn for the worse in February 2017, when his parents were told that PJ needed a quadruple transplant to give him an extra kidney, a new liver and to enhance his bowel and pancreas.

PJ was put on the transplant list but in May, after falling ill on a family break at Crieff Hydro, Jill and Paul were given the devastating news that there was nothing more doctors could do.

Elaine said: “He had been enjoying quad biking and family time earlier in the holiday but nearer the end he wasn’t too well and was admitted to the Sick Kids and eventually taken by air ambulance to Birmingham.”

PJ’s family were determined that his final moments at home would be happy ones and they surprised him with the dog he had always wanted. Shortly afterwards, he passed away in his sleep.

Now the heartbroken family have set up the PJ Foundation to raise funds for the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity which provides vital support to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children where PJ was treated many times during his short life.

Because PJ loved playing computer games when he was in hospital, the foundation aims to buy TVs and games consoles for the charity, as well as fund research for pioneering treatment and raise awareness of organ donation.

The foundation has raised more than £6000 so far.

Sue Diamond, community fundraising manager at ECHC, said: “The PJ Foundation is such an amazing initiative and a fitting way to celebrate the life of such a special little boy.

“PJ had a smile that could light up a room and I know with the community’s fundraising led by his incredible family and friends, his memory is helping to put a smile on so many more children’s faces. We can’t thank the family enough.”

To donate, go to: www.facebook.com/PJFoundation1310/