By Dave Andrusko
As NRL News Today reported on Tuesday, the ventilator keeping grievously ill Alfie Evans alive could be turned off as early as Friday. However in an impromptu press conference outside the Queens Building in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, his father, Tom Evans, said the battle “isn’t over, this is just the start” moments after Mr. Justice Hayden ruled in favor of Alder Hey Hospital which wishes to turn Alfie’s ventilator off.
But an eleventh-hour legal appeal would be costly for Evans and Kate James, Alfie’s mother. And then, out of the blue, on Wednesday, Bill Kenwright, the owner of the Everton Football [soccer] Club and a theatre producer, donated a large, undisclosed amount towards meeting the £10,000 (roughly $14,000) fee needed to fund a legal appeal, according to Tom Belger of the Liverpool Echo.
Supporters of the Alfie’s Army movement tonight on Facebook urged people to donate £10,000 needed to fund a legal appeal.
And within hours of the post they reached their target partly thanks to a huge undisclosed donation from the Everton chairman.
Alfie’s Army supporter Kayleigh Rebecca wrote: “We couldn’t be more grateful for each and everyone of Alfie’s supporters who have helped!”
Alfie’s auntie Sarah wrote: “Alfie’s Army we got over our target I can refund those who need it anyone who doesn’t I will be getting it sent to the JustGiving you are all amazing xxxx.”
In announcing his decision to turn down Alfie’s parents’ request to take him to an Italian hospital, Mr. Justice Hayden said, “It was entirely right that every reasonable option should be explored for Alfie. I am now confident that this has occurred.” He went on to say
“The continued provision of ventilation, in circumstances which I am persuaded are futile, now compromises Alfie’s future dignity and fails to respect his autonomy.
“I am satisfied that continued ventilatory support is no longer in Alfie’s best interest. This decision I appreciate will be devastating news to Alfie’s parents and family.”
Alfie, who is 21 months old, has been at the hospital since December 2016 with a condition that defies a definitive diagnosis.
All through the seven-day-long hearing, Evans, who served as his own attorney, vigorously challenged the hospital’s conclusions that treatment was futile and offered counter-examples that Alfie was responsive.
Once the judge’s decision was handed down, a furious Evans said he would never give up:
“Can you believe my son is being sentenced to a death sentence with two days to go? …I’m not crying because I know how wrong they are and I know how strong my boy is. My boy is strong, my boy is comfortable. This isn’t over, this is just the start. I am going to take this NHS down. I’m not giving up. My son ain’t giving up. …
“My son is two years of age and he’s been sentenced to the death penalty. How wrong is that?”