Couple’s joy after baby-loss heartache

Zoe Boyle with her daughters 11 month old Zaya and Felicity aged 23 months.
Zoe Boyle with her daughters 11 month old Zaya and Felicity aged 23 months.
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THESE two little stars have helped grief-stricken parents Zoe and Steven cope with losing their son.

Zoe Boyle and Steven Gardener’s lives were torn apart three years ago when their first son Steven lost his fight for life at just seven days old.

The courageous youngster was born with rare and incurable illness Edwards’ syndrome – also known as trisomy 18 – which causes vital organs to shut down.

Zoe, 21, and Steven, 26, were dealt the devastating blow that their child may have the deadly chromosome disorder during a 29-week check-up.

They were told there was no cure for the illness and were advised to have a termination, something the couple refused several times.

But despite his battle for life, the couple made the heart-breaking decision a week later to take him off the ventilation system that was keeping him alive.

Almost a year later Zoe fell pregnant with Felicity, now 23 months, before going on to give birth to her second daughter Zeya, 11 months.

She said: “We went through testing after Steven died to make sure none of us were carriers and we weren’t.

“We were told there was a very small chance the baby would have the conditon, but we were lucky because for some people it runs in the family.

“It was still a worry for us and we had amniocentesis tests done at 11 weeks and they came back clear, so that was a massive relief.”

Determined to keep Steven’s memory alive, Zoe stepped out in memory of her son as part of her mission to raise awareness about the disorder.

On Friday she joined hundreds of other parents across the country as part of an Edward’s syndrome Awareness Day.

Zoe and pals Rebecca and Laura organised a fun-run through Sunderland.

The girls started the event in Millfield, with a stop-off in the city centre to dish out information leaflets to shoppers before making their way to Whitburn.

Zoe, of Millfield, said: “We had always said we’d do something to raise awareness when Steven died, so I wanted to do this in his memory because he still plays a big role in our lives.”

She added: “It was the national awareness day for trisomy 18 and it happened to land on Comic Relief, so we thought it would be the perfect chance to do something.”