Parents tell of sorrow as little Bella Lowry passes away
The devastated parents of a baby girl whose story captured the hearts of Northern Ireland, have told how their "little angel" passed away peacefully in their arms.
Little Bella Lowry was diagnosed at just 16 weeks with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and progressive loss of movement.
The little girl's story touched people far and wide when her parents launched an urgent fundraising campaign to get her to England by air ambulance for urgent treatment.
Tragically, aged just seven months, the little girl from Bangor passed away peacefully on Tuesday in the arms of her "devoted and loving parents".
Bella was born at the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald on April 3 to medical sales rep Judith (33) and her sales rep husband David.
However, by 16 weeks Bella still wasn't progressing as expected so she was referred to the paediatric department at the Ulster Hospital.
It was here that she was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy.
The push to get the air ambulance came as Bella could not get clearance to board a commercial flight to England for a medical trial that could prolong her life.
Nor could she withstand the car or boat journey.
Speaking previously, Bella's parents described how there was no treatment available for the little girl and that the clinical trial via air ambulance was their only option.
Mum Judith said: "An air ambulance is her only fighting chance.
"It is the only chance Bella has got."
Thousands of people donated to help the little girl and to date they had raised more than £30,000.
Announcing the heartbreaking news on their fundraising page yesterday, her parents said: "Our beautiful Bella tragically lost her battle yesterday morning.
"We will be having a memorial service for our little angel at Ballycrochan Presbyterian Church at 11.00am on Friday, November 6.
"We would ask that anyone wishing to send flowers please make a donation instead to the Joshua Kyle Trust.
"Bella passed away peacefully in the arms of her devoted and loving parents aged seven months exactly at her house with her family."
Following the devastating announcement hundreds of messages of tributes and well wishes to the Lowry family flooded social media.
One of the touching messages said: "Heartbreaking news. Wee Bella has touched the lives of thousands and she will never be forgotten.
"RIP little Princess."