Tragic Callum’s dream is now lighting up the life of little Evie

Brave Evie McCabe looks in awe at the sensory lights which fill her Hartlepool bedroom.

But behind the blaze of colour is a moving and tragic story.

Brave Evie McCabe with mum Shelley Coull and Callum's mum Zoe Neesam.

Brave Evie McCabe with mum Shelley Coull and Callum's mum Zoe Neesam.

Just months ago, the same lights lit up the world of Hartlepool’s “little soldier” Callum Smith.

Tragic Callum passed away in February after fighting against a string of conditions including epilepsy, dystonia and hypertonia.

But in a wonderful display of love, his mum Zoe Neesam donated the lights to the little girl Callum loved in life.

The lights are among a range of items that were given to battling Callum following a Mail campaign to help the poorly youngster.

Evie was a big part of Callum’s life and this is massively important. They always played together and this is keeping his memory alive. I know she will have the same smiles and enjoy these things as much as Callum did.

Zoe Neesam

He was taken to the hearts of the people of Hartlepool when we launched the Callum’s Dream appeal, in conjunction with town charity Epilepsy Outlook, in the summer of 2013.

We asked our readers to help raise £5,000 so Callum could have a sensory room at his home.

Callum, three, and Evie, four, were inseparable friends at playgroup. They loved the same cartoons, they both loved Minnie Mouse and they both loved the same music.

And as Zoe cuddled Evie, she said: “I still have bad days and good days, but it makes me happy to see Evie smile the way Callum smiled.”

Evie and Callum were friends from a young age at playgroup.

Evie and Callum were friends from a young age at playgroup.

The campaign succeeded in its mission and then went on to raise almost three times the initial target, totalling around £14,000, much to the delight of Callum’s parents, Zoe and Luke Smith, 24.

As well as helping to fund the sensory room, the appeal also saw kind-hearted people and organisations throughout Hartlepool give donations to Hartlepool’s little soldier.

Zoe, 22, is donating items including sensory lights, a swing, and toys to Evie, of Moffatt Road in Hartlepool.

She added: “Evie was a big part of Callum’s life and this is massively important. They always played together and this is keeping his memory alive.

Zoe Neesam is donating items bought from the Callum's Dream appeal to Evie.

Zoe Neesam is donating items bought from the Callum's Dream appeal to Evie.

“I know she will have the same smiles and enjoy these things as much as Callum did.

“I could not deprive another child from having these things. I have all the pictures, all the videos and all the memories.”

Evie’s mum Shelley Coull, 40 - who is her full-time carer and also has a nine-year-old daughter Jersey McCabe - said Evie already loves the donated items such as the lights.

“She laughs and giggles. It is as if she knows they were Callum’s.”

Evie has a number of health conditions including four-limb cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and microcephaly.

She needs 24-hour care. Evie suffers epileptic seizures every day and, like Callum, is a little battler.

Shelley Coull with her daughter Evie McCabe.

Shelley Coull with her daughter Evie McCabe.

She spent the first ten weeks of her life in hospital and has been a regular ever since. Yet she is a happy, little girl.

Zoe said: “She has the best personality in the world and watching her play with these things brings back memories.”

Shelley told how Evie’s fight for life began almost as soon as she was born. She was placed on a life support machine and her family told that nothing more could be done for her.

Her life support machine was switched off yet Evie suddenly began breathing on her own.

“It’s as if she was saying ‘I am going nowehere’,” said Shelley.

“She stayed with me and four years later, she is still here. She needs 24-hour care but it is very rewarding,” said Shelley.

She said Callum’s tragic passing was “heartbreaking” but the smiles will “live on in 
Evie.”

Evie McCabe loves the sensort lights which fill her bedroom.

Evie McCabe loves the sensort lights which fill her bedroom.

Zoe loves to see Evie smile at the lights the same way Callum did.

Zoe loves to see Evie smile at the lights the same way Callum did.