The parents of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill British baby, issued an emotional statement Monday explaining why they ended their appeal to bring him to the United States for an experimental treatment.
Earlier Monday, Chris Gard and Connie Yates ended a monthslong legal battle to seek treatment for 11-month-old Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease.
Reading from a prepared statement outside the High Court in London as he stood alongside Yates, Chris Gard said, “This is one of the hardest things that we will ever have to say, and we are about to do the hardest thing that we’ll ever have to do, which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go.”
“Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease, who had a real, genuine chance at life and a family who love him so very dearly and that’s why we fought so hard for him,” Gard said.
Gard said the couple is “truly devastated to say” that after seeing the results of Charlie’s most recent MRI scan and consulting with an American doctor, “as Charlie’s devoted and loving parents we have decided that it’s no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels.”
He said that “there is one simple reason” why it is too late for Charlie to begin treatment: “Time. A whole lot of time has been wasted.”
“Our poor boy has been left to just lie in [the] hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought,” Gard said, adding that had Charlie received treatment sooner, “he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”
Gard said that, despite some of the controversy surrounding Charlie’s case, “this has also never been about ‘parents know best.’”
“All we wanted to do was take Charlie from one world renowned hospital to another world renowned hospital in the attempt to save his life and to be treated by the world leader in mitochondrial disease,” he said. “We will have to live with the ‘what if’s,’ which will haunt us for the rest of our lives.”
Gard broke down as he called his son “an absolute warrior.”
“We could not be prouder of him and we will miss him terribly. His body, heart and soul may soon be gone, but his spirit will live on for eternity and he will make a difference to people’s lives for years to come. We will make sure of that.”
Gard said that he and Yates “are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie, who unfortunately won’t make his first birthday in just under 2 weeks’ time.”
“We would ask that our privacy is respected at this very difficult time,” he added.
Speaking to Charlie, Gard said: “Mummy and Daddy, we love you so much, we always have and we always will, and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you. Sweet dreams, baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy. We love you.”