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Olympian’s baby loses battle with chronic lung disease

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Source : The Sunday Telegraph, April 08, 2012

Jack Hanson Clarke, baby son of Olympian Brooke Hanson dies

After a nine-month battle with chronic lung disease, the baby son of Olympian Brooke Hanson and her husband Jared Clarke has died.

“Our lovely angel, taken away too soon,” Ms Hanson said of little Jack in a written tribute for The Sunday Telegraph.

Ms Hanson spoke of her prematurely-born son’s “brave heart” and “amazing strength” and thanked the medical experts who fought so hard to keep him alive.

This is her story in Brooke Hanson’s own words:

On National Premmie Day last week, Jared and I sadly said our final farewell to our little boy Jack Hanson Clarke.

Jared and I were with Jack right to the end when he passed at 9.15pm on April 3, 2012, peacefully in our arms after a brave nine-month fight which saw him touch all of our hearts.

On July 8, 2011, to save losing him, I was rushed in for an emergency caesarean and delivered a baby boy, little Jack Hanson Clarke, who was born at 28 weeks, 12 weeks premature, weighing just 663 grams, severely growth-restricted and only 32cm long.

We kept hope for 271 days, alongside his wonderful team at the Monash Medical Centre’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, thriving off the amazing positive energy and well wishes from everyone we know, taking it one day at a time and staying strong through the ups and downs and doing everything we could to give our boy every chance.

In the end his severe chronic lung disease along with his pulmonary hypertension all became too much for his little body to bear and, despite his amazing strength, he lost his fight for life after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Jack called the shots right to the final hours and he let us know it was time. Jack has finally found some comfort without any tubes and monitors that have been his lifelines during his amazing journey.

He will forever remain in our hearts, always remembered as the Fighting Clarke.

Jack looked so cute, especially in his black and red Essendon Bombers beanie, his mini Australian boxing gloves and his Australian green and gold bandanna by his side.

Little Jack’s Corner (Bed 4, Bay 8) may have lost its most famous little resident … but he will always be remembered as the boy with the brave heart and that fighting Aussie spirit.

Our little angel, taken away too soon.

Our hearts are hurting, our tears are flowing for a little man who we all loved so much but little Jack was a boy who brought together so many people from our extended family and friends.

To the wonderful Monash staff – from doctors and nurses to administrators and baristas – you were Jack’s A-team. A massive thank you.

Jack was cared for by over 100 nurses and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being his guardian angels during his journey from 663g to 6.56kg.

We will miss all of the wonderful nurses but we will take comfort that the friendships we have made will last our lifetime.

To nurses Stacey, Clare and Nat: we love you, girls. We’ve told our son Cooper that you are the earth angels who handed our little Jack to the angels above.

Dr Atul Malhotra, you led our A-team and went above and beyond the call of duty, giving Jack every chance.

To Jack’s Fan Club, you have all been there every step of his nine months and to our family who loved him every day and night and supported us till the end – we will never forget what you have done.

The family will honour Jack’s life at a private service in Melbourne after Easter.

A donation to Life’s Little Treasures Foundation in lieu of flowers would be greatly appreciated by the family.

The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is an Australian charity which is dedicated to supporting the families of children born sick or premature.

I am honoured to be one of their ambassadors.