The story of little 11-month old Charlie Gard is touching the hearts of people all over the world. Despite support from Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, Charlie’s parents are locked in a court battle with the British government. Their cause is to get permission to take little Charlie to the United States for an experimental treatment that offers a small chance of saving his life.
According to mother Connie Yates, “If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting.” She further added, “He’s our son, he’s our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life. There is nothing to lose, he deserves a chance.”
Charlie has a rare inherited mitochondrial disease. It affects many of his vital organs, including his ability to breathe on his own. Without proper brain function, he currently lays in a British hospital, living on life support. With the hospital poised to turnoff the life support system and let Charlie’s life follow its normal course, Yates and Charlie’s father, Chris Gard, are attempting to get permission to take him to the US.
In a prior court decision, the British courts said no. After the European Court of Human Rights declined to overturn prior British court rulings, the couple decided to take their case to the court of public opinion.
To date, the couple has garnered over 350,000 signatures from British citizens who support the parent’s right to try whatever they can to save their son’s life. They have also raised more than 1.3 million pounds ($1.7 million) for the treatment and travel expenses.
The only thing standing in their way is permission from the courts. Researchers at the Vatican’s children’s hospital claim they have a treatment that could provide a small chance of improving Charlie’s long-term medical condition.