Parents of a little boy who choked on a cocktail sausage have made the painful decision to switch off his life support.
A few short hours after being dropped at Glenroi Heights Public School in Orange, about 250km west of Sydney, on July 19, Decklan Hayward began to suffer the unthinkable.
The seven-year-old started to choke on a frankfurt while joking around with his friends during a nutritional program, and despite the efforts of medics, went into cardiac arrest.
He went a catastrophic 20 minutes without oxygen to his brain which caused extensive brain damage, and was flown to The Children’s Hospital at Sydney’s Westmead.
It was there he remained on life support for two weeks before his machines were on Tuesday this week switched off.
“I just want the world to know how loved and special our son was,” his stepdad, Daniel James Mawson, told The Dubbo News.
Decklan saved four lives with the donation of his organs, including his heart.
“That’s what his mother wants everyone to know, how rare and special heart donations are and how our boy is a hero – his mother knew he would love saving lives,” Mr Mawson said.
“He was special to everyone he met and touched in life – I’m honoured and proud to be able to call him my son – he’s my superhero.”
Decklan’s aunt, Kaylah Hayward, told 7News her nephew’s donations earned him a “Walk of Honour through Westmead Hospital”.
“Even given the crappiest circumstances possible, Decky saved four lives on Tuesday. So, we’re really proud of him.”
She said all who knew Decklan would remember him as “beautiful”.
“He’s touched all our hearts, and we were just so lucky to have him, but he’s also touched everyone else’s hearts,” she said, adding he always thought of others before himself.
A GoFundMe has raised more than $20,000 in less than a week, allowing Decklan’s family freedom to plan him a perfect send off.
A spokesperson for NSW Department of Education said they were “deeply saddened by the tragic death of one of our students from Glenroi Heights Public School”.
“Our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time. We extend our sympathies to them and the student’s friends, and the broader school community in Orange.
“We will support them through this difficult time and have sent extra school counsellors to the school.”