A grieving dad has paid tribute to his brave little girl who died of a brain tumour after being diagnosed aged 11.
Mike Kell, from Wirral, Merseyside, described how he and wife Lynn care for “fun-loving” daughter Annie at home after her treatment at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital was stopped.
He now runs bereavement counselling sessions at charity Claire House who supported the couple in their “darkest days”.
Mike said he’d been “praying for a miracle” throughout Annie’s treatment, before the hospital revealed there was nothing more that could be done for the schoolgirl, reports the Liverpool Echo.
“I sometimes say that if you lose a parent or grandparent, it’s like losing your past. However, if you lose a child, you’re losing your future,” he said.
“Annie was a happy, fun-loving girl, just as she should be.”
He said Annie was “a daddy’s girl and she definitely had me twisted around her little finger.”
“She loved to dance and was always performing in the lounge or garden for us,” he continued.
“But everything changed when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 11,” he admitted.
Mike said throughout Annie’s treatment he remained positive “because the alternative was too hard”.
But after receiving the devastating news, he and Lynn brought their daughter home with the support of Claire House.
As Annie’s condition deteriorated, her parents converted their lounge into her bedroom and Lynn took time off work to care for her.
Claire House nurses visited regularly to talk through Annie’s medication and needs and were always on hand to offer any other support needed “no matter what time it was”.
Mike described the day Annie died as “too soon”.
“We knew we were going to have to say goodbye to our little girl at some point, but nothing can prepare you for the pain of losing a child.”
Annie was able to stay in Claire House’s Butterfly Suite rather than a funeral home so her family could be with her.
And the charity also provided support for older brother Will, who was “devastated” at his sister’s passing and who’d been “by her side” during her illness.
“I don’t know how we would have got through it without Claire House,” added Mike.