A HEARTBROKEN mum paid tribute to her “little superhero” who died after a two-and-a-half-year battle with leukaemia.
Little Kai Laidlaw was diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer known as infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in September 2013, when he was just eight months old.
He passed away yesterday lunchtime at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids hospital surrounded by his family and friends.
Tributes poured in for the brave three-year-old who captured hearts through an online diary chronicling how he fought the disease three times in his short life.
Speaking last night from her home in Leith, his mum, Pam Neilson, said: “We are so immensely proud of Kai. He was such a little fighter and just so brave right up until the end. He was just amazing.
“We are so grateful for the messages of love and support from our friends, family and strangers who have never even met Kai but were moved by his story. He was only a wee boy but he was a little superhero.”
The close family endured a nightmarish fight with the disease as Kai spent most of his life in and out of hospital for gruelling treatment, either at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow or Edinburgh’s Sick Kids.
Doctors had to remove his left eye in 2014 after the disease spread and his health deteriorated when he was struck down by a number of infections.
He was due to visit specialists at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital in July last year for an experimental bone marrow transplant but doctors at the Glasgow Sick Kids Hospital carried out the procedure as they feared he would not survive the wait. Then in October the parents received the devastating news that his leukaemia had returned for a third time.
Kai fought the cancer right up until Friday when Pam and her fiancé Calvin Laidlaw, 49, had to Kai take back to the Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital where doctors made him comfortable.
Pam, 38, said: “He was quite cheery on Saturday and Sunday, then on Monday morning he started to get a bit sleepy. He passed away very peacefully, surrounded by all our family. There was amazing support from everyone on the ward. They were so kind.”
Friends, family and strangers moved by his story all took to social media to pay their respects last night.
Kevin Perisi, who walked 500 miles in honour of Kai, posted on Facebook: “To say I’m gutted is the biggest understatement ever.
“The love towards Kai and his family is moving and the awareness this little boy has raised is a legacy and he will live on in people’s hearts forever and ever. Kai you will never be forgotten by me or anyone who has been a part of your journey how ever big or small.”
Susan Jackson said: “RIP to the most inspirational little boy that touched the hearts of so many people. I’m not ashamed to admit I am breaking my heart. My thoughts are with the all the family at this very sad and difficult time.”
And Jan Mckenzie said: “So sorry little man, you fought so hard and so bravely at peace in the arms of the angels now.
“Fly high wee shining star. Thinking of you all.”
Kai’s bravery also inspired a number of fundraising events and a charity single in his
honour called Beautiful Boy – sung by Ellie Armetta – which spent a number of weeks sitting at the top of the iTunes charts.