THE father of a dying baby boy has asked football fans to let off balloons in his memory this weekend.
Eight-month-old Koa Brock is on life support after getting meningitis and his dad says the machine keeping him alive will shortly be switched off.
Barry Brock, from Dumfries, has asked fans attending this weekend’s game between Rangers and Celtic to let off blue balloons in memory of Koa.
The tot’s family want his organs to be donated to help save the lives of others.
Thousands of social media users have pledged their support to the youngster and sent their condolences to the family.
The devastated family were only on holiday last week, after they returned home the tot caught meningitis and had to be rushed to hospital.
Devastated Barry took to Facebook to ask Rangers fans to support his son, writing: “Unfortunately our wee warrior isn’t going to pull through but before he goes he’s going to donate his organs to save the lives of others.
“He’ll be watching over Hampden on Sunday and he wants everyone to bring a balloon. His favourite colour is blue.”
The post has received 6,700 likes since it was posted yesterday (wed) and has had 3,600 shares.
Speaking today, Barry said: “He’s still alive, but he’s technically severely brain-damaged, and every time he twitches or moves an arm the doctors have to do tests to make sure everything will be ok for the organ donation.
“It’s horrible, we just want it over with now. It just all happened so quickly, and he had meningitis.
“Last week we were on a family holiday, and now we’re having to plan a funeral.
“The support online and everyone getting behind us has been really comforting to us.”
Koa’s mum, Haley Hamilton, said the tot suffered Meningococcal meningitis that struck without warning and “destroyed” his brain.
She said: “The meningitis has completely destroyed his brain. If it was any other kind of meningitis he would have maybe lost a limb and I would still have had my little boy.
“There were no symptoms, except for him being a bit grumpy, and it just came out of nowhere.
“We rushed him to Dumfries hospital, but they don’t have the right ventilator equipment so me and Koa were transferred to Glasgow in an ambulance.
“Once we got there his pupils dilated and they took him for a CT scan, the results were devastating.
“The doctors said to us that there was no chance of recovery. I approached the doctors about organ donation before they came to me, I’ve had congenital heart problems and had everything from a stint to artificial valves placed in.
“I might need a heart one day, how could I justify not giving Koa’s organs to help someone else?
“If his organs save someone’s life then my little boy has had a purpose, his life was worth something, and that’s what he was meant to be here for.
“The doctors told me that they only have 50 babies who are organ donors every year, there’s not enough of them, because no one wants to do it.
“We want to raise awareness of how important organ donation is, it can save lives.”
Mum Haley is urging anyone touched by Koa’s story to donate to the Meningitis Research Foundation. She said: “I also want to encourage people to be as brave as my wee boy and sign up to organ donation.”
On social media, Amy Boyle said: “My heart goes out to you and your family at this very difficult time.”
Danielle Galbraith added: “This is totally heartbreaking. Thoughts to all the family. What a gorgeous little guy and a very special thing to do.”
Dougie Galloway commented: “Devastating news.”
Ally McLaws added: “I will be watching the game on tv but I will have a blue balloon beside me.”
Bryan Hamilton said: “This breaks my heart, no parent should ever have to go through this.”
Supporters across the country who can’t make it to the Old Firm match on Sunday are organising their own balloon releases in support of Koa.
Louise Smith wrote: “Barry Brock and family have asked us to organise a balloon release for Koa on Sunday 2:15pm for 2:30pm on Sunday 15th, Whittenhame Drive in Haddington. Bring any colour of balloon. Let’s colour the sky for Koa.”
Lesley Malone said: “On behalf of the people of Dumfries, to let off your blue Koa balloons in Glentrool field Lochside on Sunday the 15th April.
“Be there for 2.15pm to let balloons off at 2.30pm, as the Rangers game kicks off, for the beautiful baby Koa.”
Last week, the parents of three-year-old Hector Kirkham who died from meningitis paid tribute to a “cheeky, happy boy”.
The family, from Lancaster, Lancashire, had to rush the youngster to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary where he sadly died later that day.
Another child from the nursery in Little Learner in Galgate was taken to hospital with the disease but later discharged.
For more information and to make a donation for research, please see: https://www.meningitis.org/