The parents of critically ill toddler Jacob Jenkins say they have been touched by the “phenomenal” support they have received from across the world.
Abigail Wilson and David Jenkins have been keeping a bedside vigil at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary as they pray for their baby boy to pull through.
The two-year-old, from Hartlepool, has been in a coma since being admitted to the RVI after choking on a grape in the town’s Pizza Hut.
His fight for life has touched the hearts of the people of Hartlepool who have rallied round lighting candles of hope for little Jacob and praying for his recovery.
His story has even pulled at the heartstrings of those across the globe with wellwishers from Germany and Spain posting messages of support on social media.
The support has left his parents overwhelmed and the couple say they can’t thank people enough for their kindness.
Tonight, a balloon release will take place on the seafront at Seaton Carew, in Jacob’s name, at 7pm.
People are being asked to meet at the clock tower at 6.45pm and to bring yellow balloons.
It is a gesture his parents hope to replicate in the grounds of the hospital.
His mum said this morning: “The support we are receiving from Hartlepool and across the world is phenomenal and we love the idea of the balloons being released, we will be doing it as well.
“Jacob has had a comfortable night and he is slowly coming off the medication, and, apart from his breathing, he is doing everything on his own, but this doesn’t change his chances, he still needs to show that he can wake up.
“He needs to wake up, and he’s not showing any signs of that yet.”
Meanwhile, the family have also thanked friend Ben Picken, who set up a Go Fund Me page for Jacob.
Abigail added: “We really would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support and the Go Fund Me page is absolutely amazing.
“We can’t thank Ben Picken, who is a family friend, enough for starting it for us.”
The fund, yesterday, smashed the £5,000 mark with balloon company Balloonies hoping to add to the fund.
Lee Chapman, from the party supplies shop in Murray’s Street, say profits from balloons sold for the release in Jacob’s name will be donated to the family.
Mr Chapman said: “We have had loads of enquiries, and we are going to give all of the money we make back to the family.”
Jacob stopped breathing for around 30 minutes on Friday, while first aiders worked to remove the grape.
The restaurant remained closed until Monday.
A Pizza Hut spokesman said: “Following careful consideration and discussion with the staff involved, we have now re-opened our Hartlepool Hut.
“Our thoughts continue to be very much with Jacob and his family at this very difficult time.”