BRAVE little hero Callum Smith has lost his fight for life.
The courageous three-year-old, who touched the hearts of so many Hartlepool Mail readers, passed away at the weekend.
Today, his family paid tribute and told how Callum had been so special, especially to his proud mum Zoe Neesam, 21, and dad Luke Smith, 24.
Zoe said: “Callum was a very special amazing boy who touched the hearts of everyone but most of all his mammy and daddy.
“He fought for so long and we were told we wouldn’t have seen him reach three years if it wasn’t for us and his determination and fight.”
Callum 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.
The campaign succeeded in its mission and went on to raise almost three times the initial target, totalling around £14,000.
Callum, who fought a string of conditions including epilepsy, dystonia and hypertonia, and passed away yesterday.
Zoe added: “The feelings we have are unexplainable at this time. Our hearts are not just broken it feels like they are not there.
“It’s like one crazy dream, or that we are looking at someone else going through us, but then it hits us again like a ton of bricks.
“But we couldn’t be any prouder of Callum and how strong he has been and how strong he has made us.
“Our little angel will never be gone because he will be with us in everything we do and he will certainly never be forgotten.
He has had prayers sent, candles lit and well wishes off people near and far! America, Los Angeles, Texas.
“He touched the hearts of many and we are proud to say that he is our son.”
Zoe added: We don’t know funeral arrangements as he only passed yesterday.
“We have the funeral directors coming this afternoon to go slowly through things but what we do know is that we want bright colours.
“Callum wouldn’t give anyone the time of day in black clothes, he likes colourful and bright things.”
Tributes are already being paid to Callum.
Epilepsy Outlook operations manager Jacqui Gettings said everyone at the charity is devastated at the news.
The charity teamed up with the Mail to organise the Callum’s Dream campaign.
Jacqui added: “It had been a privilege to help such a courageous family. Everyone here is so sad.”