A boy suffering from the “smallest cold of his life” suddenly died of a rare illness which also killed both his uncles.
Alfie Mitchell, eight, tragically died from an extremely rare condition which also left his brother mentally handicapped.
He’d been off school with a cold, but was bouncing around so much his mum thought he was “fibbing it” to play Fortnight.
But tragically, four days before Christmas Alfie had a seizure and less than 48 hours later he died, reports the Mirror Online .
Like both his uncles Gary and Robbie, the young lad had come down with acute necrotizing encephalopathya.
Doctors now know that this is a rare form of Encephalitis that is genetic.
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Remarkably, Aflie's older half-brother Charlie was left with cerebral palsy due to a different strain of Encephalitis – despite not even being related to Gary or Robbie.
Now mum Shelley and her husband Tony, 31, are calling for NHS-funded counselling for bereaved parents after they were left to fend for herself following Alfie's devastating death.
"Alfie was never very unwell," the wedding videographer, from Stapleford Abbotts in Essex, said.
"He's such a character. In December he had the smallest cold he had in his life. He was not under a blanket.
"He day one off school and played Fortnite on the computer. He was running around with his cousins.
"I wondered if he was fibbing it, even GP said he was fine.
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"And then he got up one morning and said 'I don't feel well'. Within 24 hours he had gone. His brain swelled so much."
Alfie died on at Royal London Hospital two days before Christmas.
"It was extremely sudden," Shelley said.
"He was massive individual. A loud bubbly boy."
In the new year Shelley and Tony called up an NHS bereavement service in Brentwood near their home.
They were told it cost £50 per session, per person, with a £70 assessment fee.
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Because Tony was out of work having badly broken his leg when a van crashed into him, the £400 monthly fee was too much.
Shelley went to her GP in search of help and was given the number of an NHS mental health line.
However, because she wasn't judged suicidal or in imminent danger, the 35-year-old didn't qualify for funding.
A charity based in Southend was suggested to them, but the hour and a half drive from their home proved unfeasible.
"Life is extremely different but I can still manage life," Shelley said.
"Because we weren't on the extreme end they couldn't help. We got discharged within that phone call."
Since writing to their MP Alex Burghart and asking for help, Shelley and Tony have been offered a reduced rate for counselling at the Brentwood service.
"We're just disheartened that when you leave the hospital you have to look for help," she said.
"They should direct you, but you get passed on round to loads of places. If they had help from the get go you'd be able to get back to work quicker.
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"Some kind of support should be more offered.
"If I were a recovering alcoholic, drug addict or prison inmate I would be able to receive government funded support.
"As a parent who has had their whole world shot pieces with no warning, I am just left to work things out alone.
"What seems crazy is the impact of the grief on my family could very easily lead myself or any parent to turn to the bottle or to drugs.
Grief like this can, if left, lead to mental health issues. If this happened then I'd get help.
"Surely it can not be right that I have to get worse before I can have help to get better."
Shelley and Tony are calling for more support for grieving parents.
To sign their petition click here .
NHS England has been contacted for comment.
- In the News
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