A teen battling cancer woke from a coma to tell his family “I love you” from his hospital bed on Christmas day – before he died just days later.
Tragic Jay Oxley, 17, found a lump on his neck on December 25, 2015 and was given the devastating diagnosis that it was a tumour one month later.
The promising young farmer underwent a bone marrow transplant for the lymphoblastic lymphoma after chemotherapy failed in July last year.
But when medics operated on Jay for an unrelated illness on November 5 they discovered a virus in his lungs at Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham.
The virus, a complication from his bone marrow transplant, was combination of microangiopathy and flu and he was transferred to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
Dad Ben Oxley, 38, and mum Claire, 35, were left heartbroken when medics had to put Jay into a coma on December 11.
They were given hope when he woke up on December 21 but his health worsened and doctors put him into another induced coma in the early hours of Christmas Day.
His parents revealed Jay’s last words were: “Merry Christmas, I love you all so much,” before he slipped back into unconsciousness on Christmas Day.
He sadly died 16 days later on January 10 with his devastated family, including siblings Harry, 13, and Ella, seven, by his side.
Paying tribute, Ben and Claire, of Keyworth, Nottingham, said: “From the day we first found out he had cancer he has battled harder than any person should ever have to in their lifetime.
“To say we are proud would be an understatement. He has the heart of a lion and never gave up.
“I think he pushed himself to Christmas Day. The last thing he said to us was ‘Merry Christmas. I love you all so much’.
“He was a dreamer and we loved that about him – what’s life without a dream even if they don’t come true? He will leave a hole in our hearts that no-one else can fill.”
Ben and Claire had set up a fundraising page to help their son get a tractor licence and a farming quad bike.
Now the family has decided to donate the cash raised to The Teenage Cancer Trust, The Sick Children’s Trust, Rainbow’s Hospice and Anthony Nolan.
Claire said: “As he was getting better he said I want to tell people what happens. You don’t just have a bone marrow and everything is OK.
“We want to thank all our friends and family for the massive amounts of support we have received.
“It has just been amazing really. It just made us really proud that so many people cared about him.
“We want to take the other children on holiday if we can because they have had nothing. It has been all about Jay.”
They also thanked staff at QMC and Sheffield Children’s Hospital for supporting Jay.
David Walker, professor of paediatric oncology, said: “Jay was a real individualist and a very forward thinking, maturing young man.
“He helped us to develop our knowledge of what young people needed when they were ill and he wanted us to use his experience to help others.
“He was a very positive person and our thoughts are with his family through this sad time.”