A heartbroken Wharfedale family has thanked the local community for the support they received during their fight to save their young daughter.
Erin Field died in hospital on Monday after being diagnosed at Leeds General Infirmary on December 5 with the extremely rare pulmonary veno-occlusive disease (PVOD).
She was just 14 months old.
Her family, Arthington couple Sarah and Rob and their eight-year-old son Bailey, had been trying desperately, through an online giving page, to raise enough money to pay for a lung transplant operation, possibly in the United States.
Mrs Field posted this message of appreciation to those who had supported them on the Facebook page Erin Field Lung Transplant Fundraising Campaign. She said: “Thank you to each and everyone of you who helped raise money and awareness of Erin's condition.
“Myself and Rob are heartbroken. Our beautiful angel will rest in peace and never ever be forgotten.
“Thank you for all the messages of support that have helped us get through this nightmare. Loads of love to everyone.”
Sarah’s sister Catherine Greenwood, Erin’s aunt, said: “The community has been wonderful.
“I had a massive response in the 24 hours after I launched the page and the posts have had 18,000 views.
“MP Greg Mulholland has been wonderful in supporting the family too, we would like to express our gratitude to him for helping Rob and Sarah.”
Erin’s family are keen to raise awareness of the devastating condition that took her life.
Only a handful of cases of PVOD have been seen in the UK over theplast two decades.
The disease causes high blood pressure in the lung arteries, leading to a narrowing of the pulmonary veins and swelling and congestion of the lungs. The outlook for those with the condition is bleak with a lung transplant – not normally carried out in the UK on very young children – often the only long-term hope.
More than £4,000 was raised for Erin’s appeal in just 24 hours and the family will now use some of that to help with funeral expenses, while donating the rest to the British Lung Foundation.
Their fundraising page, erinfield.org, has been renamed In Memory of Erin Field. The site says: “As Erin bravely fought the disease over 11 desperate days at the Leeds General Infirmary, we all hoped and prayed that she could gain sufficient strength to one day undergo a transplant.
“Tragically, this wasn’t to be. Erin’s family were all overwhelmed by the tremendous show of support received through both our local and online communities.
“Thank you to everyone who contributed. No doubt, Erin’s life has touched so many of us and fundraising will continue in her name.”