Heartbreak as parents make decision to take Paige off ventilator
A 19-MONTH-OLD girl who successfully fought leukaemia has died after falling ill with pneumonia.
Paige Clarke was diagnosed with cancer at four months old and underwent a bone marrow transplant in April last year.
At her three-month and six-month check-ups, the transplant was deemed to have been a success because the donor cells had replaced Paige's cells, which meant she was getting better.
Paige's mother, Payden Rhodes, of Dean Street, lives with Paige's dad, Jonny Clarke, and entered the youngster in the Derby Telegraph's Baby of the Year competition last year.
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The 19-year-old said: "We were going to be getting her one-year check-up results in April and we were confident she was going to be in the clear.
"Her previous check-ups were clear of the cancer."
But Paige died on February 9, having been poorly for about a month.
Payden said: "She got worse and worse and we took her to hospital. At first, they thought it was a nose and throat infection, like a cold.
"She went to Sheffield Children's Hospital, as that's where she had all her cancer treatment.
"We trust all the doctors there, as they've known Paige right from when she was tiny and through all her illness."
Doctors found Paige had a lot of fluid around her heart and was put on a ventilator to keep her breathing. Her kidneys also started to fail.
Payden said: "It was then we had to make the decision on what to do. Her oxygen saturation levels were so low she was at risk of going into cardiac arrest. The doctors said if she did, it would be hard to bring her back because of the fluid around her heart."
On February 9, Payden and Jonny, also 19, made the heartbreaking decision to take Paige off the ventilator.
Payden said: "They unhooked her from all the machines – she had so many for oxygen and medicine – and put her in my arms and she just slipped away."
Paige, throughout most of her ordeal, was always smiling, according to her mum and dad.
Jonny said: "Paige loved to dance – or bop around – to anything. Any music that came on, she'd be bopping away to it.
"And she loved the iPad. She wasn't bothered about any of the toys she had – we've got so many – but she loved the iPad and our phones."
Paige loved the characters Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy from In The Night Garden and was always dressed in pink.
Payden said: "Everything had to be pink – she loved it."
On February 28 at 7pm, in memory of Paige, family members and friends are releasing balloons and lanterns into the night sky all around the country.
Paige's funeral takes place earlier the same day, at Markeaton Crematorium. Her family have requested that only friends and family should attend.