Life support

“I’m fighting to keep my son’s life support – he shook my hand and I won’t stop”

Looking at my son’s cheeky face as he walked into my room, I immediately knew he was up to something.

“Here, mom, I got you a candy,” Archie said with a smirk. He held up a bag, which I put my hand in, but our pet rabbit, Simian, was inside. “Archi! I say laughing. “Rest the bunny before he pees on the mat.”

He left my room and I was still smiling. His pranks and cheeky personality had me cracking up all day, every day.

From the moment he could walk and talk, he was bursting with energy and a wicked sense of humor. At 12, Archie is the baby of the family. I also have Tom, 22, and Lauren, 20, who absolutely adore her.

I started taking him to gymnastics when he was just a toddler and he had a natural talent, winning medals at the age of four. We couldn’t go anywhere without him doing somersaults, leaps or doing the splits. He was jumping over posts in malls and doing somersaults in parking lots. My boy’s energy never ran out.

This might get him in trouble at school but luckily he found a wonderfully supportive primary school with a one-to-one teaching assistant, Mrs. Minnie, who became his “school mom” and really believed in him, which who helped him.

She loves her boy’s cheeky antics

Archie won gymnastics trophies

Once he settled into a school routine, Archie’s gymnastics went from strength to strength. My three children all have hobbies that I have encouraged to give them discipline and focus. Tom is an MMA fighter and Lauren rides horses – she has two that she takes care of in the stables.

At home, I have a cupboard full of all their medals, trophies and rosettes. I couldn’t be prouder of the children’s accomplishments. As Archie grew and got stronger, he wanted to try MMA fighting, like his big brother.

He started training every day ahead of his first fight, booked for April 24 this year.

Tom and Lauren would record TikTok montages of his techniques – the speed of his punches and kicks was incredible. We knew he would go far.

But on April 7, just minutes after Archie walked into my room teasing me with the bunny, I found him unconscious at the top of the stairs.

I thought he was quiet, but I wasn’t worried – he’s 12, he doesn’t need me standing in front of him all the time.

I came out of my room and called him – and that’s when I saw the bunny at the top of the stairs. “Camber?” I called and walked towards him. I thought he was standing on the stairs – but when I got closer I saw he was hanging there.

I started screaming for help, but it was just me and Archie at home. I took the pressure off his neck and ran down the street screaming for help. It was pure adrenaline. As I was screaming and panicking, a neighbor came, called an ambulance and took over CPR until help arrived.

Archie looked completely normal – his skin was his usual color, he was warm to my touch, he could have slept. I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t just wake up.

Put a fan

We were flown straight to Southend University Hospital, where Archie was put on a ventilator to protect his brain, and then flown to the more specialist Royal London Hospital.

As he sat by Archie’s bedside, people started messaging me, saying there were online challenges for kids to pass out. Some of these videos show children how to tie a ligature around their neck. I was sick.

At first I thought the lanyard around Archie’s neck was a freak accident from when he was playing with the bunny. But now I wonder if Archie had participated in any of those challenges.

“You can fight this, Archie,” I told him as I held his hand in the hospital. “We’re not giving up,” I said through tears.

But specialists treating Archie have told me and Archie’s father, Paul, that it’s “very likely” he’s brain dead.

Hollie and Archie with Tom and Lauren in 2015

I begged for treatments to help Archie with any swelling in his brain, in case he got worse instead of better, but all the hospital could offer was brain stem tests to determine if Archie was brain dead.

Once this is determined, the hospital would like to shut down its life support system.

I refused for five weeks, but on Friday May 13 a High Court judge ruled that it was in Archie’s ‘best interests’ to proceed with these tests. Now I’m waiting for the results to see what’s next.

But I ask for more time. What’s the rush – it took me longer to get over the flu.

Archie changes all the time. He squeezed my fingers with a tight grip. I think it’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time. His eyes open slightly.

We don’t know the extent of the damage to his brain. He could wake up a very different boy, but I’d rather have a bit of Archie than none of Archie. I just want to kiss her pretty little face.

cling to hope

Now I will keep fighting for as long as possible for us to watch and wait. Every day my older kids come to visit their brother and try to get him to react by playing his favorite song – lucid dreams by Juice WRLD – and the voice notes of his friends.

Her amazing teaching assistant brought her a beautiful poem and a teddy bear made out of flowers.

The support we’ve had is incredible. Our local Southend-on-Sea community has turned the seafront lights purple in honor of Archie and Chase High School, where Archie started in September, has purple ribbons tied to its front doors.

Where there is life, there is hope – that’s what I cling to. Until it’s God’s way, I won’t let him go. I know miracles when people come back from brain death. He may not be the same as before, but if there’s a chance he can live a happy life after this, I want to give it to him.

Hollie stays with Archie in the hospital

The lawyer representing Barts Health NHS Trust, who is responsible for Archie’s care, told the judge at our May 4 hearing that “Archie’s treatment team considers it very likely that he will or, in fact, death of the brainstem”.

They say all of Archie’s moves are reflexes – including his shaking my hand.

But me and Archie are always like, ‘Quitting is not an option.’ I will exhaust all possibilities to give him the best chance to fight.

He is an elite gymnast with huge potential to become an MMA champion. We want to bring him back to what he loves to do. We will not abandon it.

His sister started an Instagram page, @spreadthepurplewave, where people can follow Archie’s journey. She reached out for support from people all over the world and we got some amazing messages.

Great famous boxers, including David Haye and Ricky Hatton, sent us support videos, which I played to Archie to motivate him. I want him to feel love and positivity all around him.

We have also raised funds, in case a treatment option is found abroad. So far we have over £18,000 in donations.

There will be further hearings to determine Archie’s future medical care, or whether to turn off his life support, but I pray he wakes up one day.

I would give anything to see him go back to being cheeky himself, teasing us all and bouncing around.

We know he needs a miracle, but I am his mother and I will never give up fighting to ensure he has all the time he needs to come back to me.

You can follow Archie’s journey on Instagram, @spreadthepurplewave, and donate to

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