“I’m fighting to keep my son on life support – he squeezed my hand and I won’t stop”

When I saw my son’s cheeky face as he walked into my bedroom, I knew right away that he was up to something.

“Here Mum, I got you a treat,” Archie said, grinning. He held up a bag for me to put my hand in, but our pet rabbit, Simian, was inside. “Archie!” I said laughing. “Put the rabbit back before it pees on the carpet.”

He left my room and I was still smiling. His pranks and cheeky personality made me laugh every day.

From the moment he could walk and talk, he was bursting with energy and a naughty sense of humor. At 12, Archie is the baby of the family. I also have Tom, 22, and Lauren, 20, who absolutely adore him.

I started taking him to gymnastics when he was a toddler and he was a natural, winning medals by the age of four. We couldn’t go anywhere without him somersaulting, jumping, or doing the splits. He vaulted posts in malls and backfliped in parking lots. My boy’s energy never ran out.

It might get him into trouble at school, but luckily he found a wonderfully supportive primary school with a one-on-one assistant teacher, Mrs. Minnie, who became his ‘school mom’ and really believed in him, which helped.

She loves her boy’s naughty antics

Archie has won gymnastics trophies

Once he settled into the school routine, Archie’s gymnastics became progressively stronger. All of my three children have a hobby that I have encouraged to give them discipline and focus. Tom is an MMA fighter and Lauren rides horses – she has two that she tends at the stables.

At home I have a cupboard full of medals, trophies and rosettes. I couldn’t be prouder of the children’s achievements. As Archie got older and stronger, he wanted to try MMA fighting like his big brother.

He began training every day leading up to his first fight, which was booked for April 24 of that year.

Tom and Lauren recorded TikTok montages of his techniques – the speed of his punches and kicks was amazing. We knew he would go far.

But on April 7th, just minutes after Archie walked into my room and teased me about the rabbit, I found him unconscious at the top of the stairs.

I thought he would be quiet but I wasn’t worried – he’s 12, he doesn’t need me standing over him all the time.

I came out of my room and called him – and that’s when I saw the rabbit at the top of the stairs. “Bow?” I called and walked up to him. I thought it was on the stairs – but as I got closer I saw that it was hanging there.

I started screaming for help but it was just me and Archie at home. I took the pressure off his neck and ran into the street screaming for help. That was pure adrenaline. As I screamed and panicked, a neighbor came, called an ambulance and did CPR until help arrived.

Archie looked perfectly normal – his skin was his usual color, he felt warm to my touch, he could have been asleep. I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t just wake up.

Put on a ventilator

We were taken straight to Southend University Hospital where Archie was on a ventilator to protect his brain and we were then taken to the more specialized Royal London Hospital.

While I was at Archie’s bedside, people started texting me that there were online challenges that kids could pass out on. Some of these videos show children how to tie a ligature around their neck. I got sick.

At first I thought the string around Archie’s neck was a freak accident while he was playing with the rabbit. But now I’m wondering if Archie participated in any of those challenges.

“You can fight this, Archie,” I told him as I held his hand in the hospital. “We’re not giving up,” I said through tears.

But the specialists who treated Archie told me and Archie’s father Paul that it was “very likely” he was brain dead.

Hollie and Archie with Tom and Lauren in 2015

I asked for treatments to help Archie with swelling in his brain should he get worse instead of better, but all the hospital could offer were brainstem tests to determine if Archie was brain dead.

Once that was established, the hospital would want to turn off life support.

I refused for five weeks, but on Friday 13 May a High Court judge ruled that it was in Archie’s “best interest” for these tests to be carried out. Now I’m waiting for the results to see what happens next.

But I ask for more time. What’s the rush – it took me longer to get over the flu.

Archie is always changing. He squeezed my fingers with a firm grip. I think that’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time. His eyes open slightly.

We don’t know the extent of the damage to his brain. He might wake up a whole different boy, but I’d rather have something of Archie than nothing of Archie. I just want to kiss his beautiful little face.

Hold on to hope

Now I will keep fighting as long as possible so we can watch and wait. Every day my older kids visit their brother and try to get him to answer by playing his favorite song – lucid dreams by Juice WRLD – and voice notes from his friends.

His amazing teaching assistant brought him a beautiful poem and a teddy bear made out of flowers.

The support we’ve had is incredible. Our local community in Southend-on-Sea dyed the lights by the sea purple in honor of Archie and Chase High School, where Archie started in September, has purple ribbons on its front gates.

Where there is life, there is hope – I hold on to that. Until it’s God’s way, I won’t accept that He should go. I know miracles when people have come back from brain death. He may not be the same, but if there’s a chance he can have a happy life after that, I want to give it to him.

Hollie stays by Archie’s side in the hospital

The lawyer representing the Barts Health NHS Trust, which is responsible for Archie’s care, told the judge at our May 4 hearing that “Archie’s treatment team finds it very likely that he is indeed brain dead”.

They say that all of Archie’s movements are reflexes – including him squeezing my hand.

But me and Archie always say to each other, “Giving up is not an option.” I’ll do whatever I can to give him the best fighting chance.

He is an elite gymnast with huge potential to become an MMA fighter champion. We want to bring him back to what he loves to do. We won’t give up on him.

His sister started an Instagram page called @spreadthepurplewave where people can follow Archie’s journey. She’s reached out to people around the world for support, and we’ve received some amazing news.

Big celebrity boxers like David Haye and Ricky Hatton sent us support videos which I played for Archie to motivate him. I want him to feel the love and positivity around him.

We have also collected donations in case a treatment option is found abroad. So far we have raised over £18,000 in donations.

There will be further hearings to determine Archie’s future medical care or whether he should have his life support turned off, but I pray that one day he will wake up.

I would give anything to see him back to his sassy self, teasing and jumping around for all of us.

We know he needs a miracle – but I’m his mother and I will never stop fighting to give him all the time he needs to come back to me.

You can follow Archie’s journey on Instagram, @spreadthepurplewave, and donate below gofundme.com/f/just-for-archie

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