Tragic Ethan Owens will be remembered this week when Hartlepool comes together for a balloon release.
The nine-year-old fought for life for more than a week after being hit by a car in the town’s Marina Way, but his injuries were too severe and mum and dad Paul Owens and Lisa Cooper made the heart-breaking decision to turn off his life support machine.
The Jesmond Gardens Primary School pupil Ethan lived with his family in Wharton Terrace, and was the second youngest of seven children.
Now one of Lisa’s oldest friends is organising a balloon release in the youngster’s memory.
Alison Johnson has known Lisa since they were children.
“I have known her all my life - we used to live next door to each other when we were kids,” she said.
Alison, 38, hopes the balloon launch - to be held at the Greyfields sports ground at 5.15pm on Friday - will help to bring the community together.
“I just wanted to do something,” she said.
“A lot of the kids around the area were asking if anything was happening and I thought it would be a chance for people to come together.”
Balloons are available from Balloonies in Murray Street for £1 and donations for the family will also be collected at the launch.
Alison, who runs the Starvin’ Marvin sandwich shop in Raby Road, is expecting a big turn-out.
“I went to the balloon shop and I said I thought there would be about 200 there - but I put it on Facebook and it has already had more than 220 shares.
“I have also been telling everybody who comes into the shop.
“Absolutely anybody who wants to come along is welcome, so I think there is going to be quite a lot of people there,” she said. “It is just about providing a little bit of support for the family.”
Speaking on behalf of his family, Ethan’s aunt, Sarah Bradley, 31, said the youngster’s death had left his parents, Paul Owens, 36, and Lisa Cooper, 37, inconsolable.
She said: “His mam and dad have lost their son, you just can’t put yourselves in that position. They are just completely and utterly devastated.”
Ethan, who lived with his family in Wharton Terrace, was the second youngest of seven children and Sarah said his siblings, Jordan, 20, Ryan, 18, Lauren, 15, Nicole, 13, Shola, 11, and three-year-old Kyle, are all heartbroken, but trying to be strong for their parents.
Despite their grief, Sarah said Paul and Lisa have been touched by the amount of support they have had, adding: “Everyone has been brilliant, even strangers, the amount of people that have sent messages of support has been amazing.”