Broadstairs boy Archie Page, who captured the hearts of Thanet residents with his infectious smile and happiness despite the challenges of living with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, has passed away.
Nine-year-old Archie spent his last five days at Demelza Children’s Hospice, which supported him throughout his life, with parents Debbie and Dave by his side.
The funny, cheeky youngster inspired hundreds of residents to help with fundraising over the years so Debbie and Dave could make his life as inclusive and happiness filled as possible.
Archie could not talk, walk, stand or sit unaided. He couldn’t eat or drink and had to be fed via a tube into his stomach. He needed 24 hour care and weekly therapies to help manage his disability which was due to a serious haemorrhage he suffered before birth, when mum Debbie was 32 weeks pregnant.
Against the odds Archie survived and Debbie and Dave made his life as inclusive and comfortable as possible. Around six years ago the Thanet community and businesses, including Parkland Estates, rallied to help the family build a sensory garden and a new bedroom and wetroom for Archie. He was also treated to a family trip to Disneyland thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Masons.
The campaign gathered such pace that many isle residents began to regularly follow Archie’s progress on facebook.
Debbie said: “We knew Archie would have challenges in life but he overcame it all and he was so brave. Even when he was unwell and in hospital he would always be smiling and lapping up the love from the nurses. In Rainbow Ward the nurses would fight to look after him because he so loved all their hugs.
“He was a bit of a celebrity, we would be in town and people would say hello to Archie because they had seen him in the paper or on facebook. He loved it, he loved having his photo taken and he loved people making a fuss of him. He just captured people hearts.”
Debbie says Archie also has a great sense of fun, adding: “He was so cheeky and would laugh at really inappropriate things, like someone falling over or his brother being told off – he found that so funny!
“He loved being at home and his beautiful garden and he loved his Archie’s ladies, the carers at home who he wrapped around his little finger. Even on the tough days when he was in pain or unwell, Archie always found a reason to smile and he was always happy as long as he had love and attention – and he only knew love.
“We are devastated that Archie is no longer with us but we knew we wouldn’t have him forever.
“We were so privileged and so lucky to have Archie in our lives for nine and a half years. It was only a little life but it was a great life with smiles and fun with the family and we are so grateful for that time.”
Debbie says the family are so thankful for all the support given by the community and by Demelza.
She said: “Archie gave us a different outlook on life and made us appreciate the little things. Jack has been so brave too.”
Debbie says the family have been overwhelmed by the hundreds of messages of support and memories shared of how Archie had touched people’s lives.
She said: “I want to thank everyone, it was lovely to see how much Archie was loved by others.”
The family have now launched a justgiving appeal for Demelza in Archie’s name.
Debbie said: “We want to help another family have the support we had. Demelza was there for us right from the beginning. Archie would have respite weekends or we would stay as a family and in the last three years they have been giving Archie care in our home, they have been a massive part of Archie’s life and he really made his mark, being part of the Demelza campaigns.
“What they have done for us as a family for the last 9 years I can’t put into words. We think this is the best thing we can do in Archie’s memory.”
Demelza provides care for children and young people who have serious or terminal conditions and gives support to parents, brothers and sisters, and all those who love them.
Very well written Kathy. My brother-in law will be sadly missed but never forgotten x