A funny, laid-back and caring 16-year-old from Harborough has died in hospital, after complications following a heart operation.
Mitchell Harvey died in Glenfield Hospital, Leicester, on Sunday, October 26, after spending five weeks in intensive care, including during his 16th birthday.
His mum Lynnette Harvey said: “He was born with a heart condition, but this was unexpected. When he went into surgery, I was told he’d be back out at about tea-time.”
Now friends and relatives are raising money to help the shocked family pay for a funeral for Mitchell. So far an appeal on the fundraising site indiegogo has raised £2,400.
One of the women behind the fund – Lynette’s friend Lucy Nichols – said: “Lynnette didn’t imagine for a minute she would need to be arranging her son’s funeral.
“I hope the Mail’s readers can help us raise more, to give Mitchell the send-off he deserves.”
Sue Jones, principal at Robert Smyth Academy, where Mitchell went to school, said: “We were greatly saddened to hear about Mitchell’s death.
“He was a popular student and really coped very bravely with the difficulties that were linked to his heart condition.
“He’s going to be sadly missed by friends, students and staff, and our best wishes and condolences go to his family.”
She said the school was planning to commemorate Mitchell’s life through a special assembly, and a permanent memorial in the school.
Mitchell was born with a heart condition called Shones Complex, which affects the left side of the heart.
It meant three major heart operations before he was ten, the last of which was in 2007.
Mum Lynnette said: “The most obvious effect was he got tired and out of breath.
“And he wasn’t allowed to do things like play football, because his blood was thinned by the warfarin he took. Not that he really listened.”
The heart surgery at Glenfield on September 23 this year was supposed to be Mitchell’s last round of operations.
But as rare complication followed rare complication over the next five weeks, even amputation of both his legs below the knee could not save Mitchell. Finally, on October 26, the family said their goodbyes, and the life support machines were turned off.
His mum Lynnette had stayed with him throughout, in a room supplied by East Midlands charity Heart Link, based at Glenfield Hospital.
Step-dad Rob Nibbs plans to do a half-marathon to raise money for Heart Link. You can sponsor him via a justgiving site.
“It was always complicated with Mitchell,” said Lynette.
“But because he’d had this condition since he was born, he wasn’t frightened of hospital. He was patient about it; laid-back. And he knew he got waited on hand and foot there.
“And he was looking forward to getting fit and going out with the lads again.”
Mitchell lived in Harborough with mum Lynette, step-dad Rob and brothers Liam Nibbs (10) and Freddie Nibbs (3). He also had two stepsisters – Lauren Nibbs and Faith Nibbs.
“His friends are going to miss him in his class because he’s a bit of a comedian,” said Lynette. “When he was with his friends, you heard them laughing all the time. He was funny and happy and caring. I never had to tell him off, and he never asked for anything.
“His brothers just loved him, and the youngest, Freddie, would often get in his bed for a cuddle. And I’ll miss everything about him. All of him.”
To donate to the funeral, go to www.indiegogo.com/projects/mitchell-harvey.
To donate to Heart Link, go to Rob Nibbs’ justgiving website at www.justgiving.com/Rob-Nibbs2.