Heartache for family as little Jayden (6) loses cancer battle
Tributes have been paid to a six-year-old east Belfast boy who died from a rare form of cancer on Saturday.
Messages of support and condolences have been flooding in to the family of Jayden Morrow, who lost his battle with rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer that affects around 60 children in the UK each year.
His devastated parents Maggie McCullough and Ian Morrow, and brother Jaxson, announced the news in a statement.
It read: "It is with the heaviest heart Maggie, Ian and Jaxson would like to inform you their wonderful son and brother, Jayden, passed away peacefully this morning.
"Jayden spoke earlier about the superheroes and the baddies, and said the beautiful words 'I love you mummy'. These will most certainly be precious moments for Maggie and Ian throughout their hard days.
"Jayden has touched the hearts of many people who will all be devastated by this news but can I ask you all to respect the wishes of Maggie and Ian as the family home is private.
"Thank you so much to each and everyone of you who supported Maggie and Ian, who gave them precious memories to cherish forever and who held Jayden and his family in their prayers.
"Your kindness means so much to the family and gives them strength to get through the days ahead. To our darling wee Jayden, fly high little man, you will live on in our hearts forever."
Jayden was diagnosed with the condition that develops tumours in the back, head and chest area, when he was just 18 months old.
For most of his short life he endured gruelling chemotherapy and radiation treatments at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
But hope was renewed when tests showed last year that his body was finally cancer-free, prompting his parents to agree to a break in treatment to allow Jayden to live a normal childhood.
However, the good news lasted only seven weeks and Jayden underwent more scans which showed the cancer had returned.
His family resolved to make the most of every precious minute to create happy memories for Jayden.
With help from his parents and charity Angel Wishes, Jayden, a fan of superheroes, drafted his bucket list. It included meeting Batman, Spider-Man and the Ninja Turtles. He also fulfilled his dream of meeting Belfast boxer Carl Frampton, as well as taking flight in a helicopter.
Tributes which have poured in describe Jayden as a "hero", an "inspiration" and an "angel".
His funeral is set to take place at Willowfield Parish Church on Wednesday, followed by a private family burial at Roselawn Cemetery.