Trump and Pope give baby’s parents ‘hope’

Sky News:-Charlie Gard’s parents say that support from President Trump and Pope Francis has given them “hope”.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates have campaigned to take 11-month-old Charlie, who has a rare genetic condition, to the US for experimental treatment.

There have been donations of more than £1.3m to support a trip.

Last week, the European Court of Human Rights rejected a plea from Charlie’s parents to intervene in the case, which has reached the end of the line in the UK courts.

Pope Francis has said Charlie’s parents should be allowed to “accompany and treat their child until the end”, while the Vatican’s children’s hospital has offered to care for their son.

Mr Trump has also offered help.

A family spokesman said: “The White House has been in talks with Charlie’s family, GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital), the UK Government, the Department of Health and the American doctor who wants to treat Charlie.

“President Trump has a very good understanding of the whole case and he did not make an off-the-cuff tweet.”

Charlie’s mum Connie said: “The support from the Pope and the President has given us hope.

“They are traditional men who believe in the family.

“They believe in our case and understand why we believe it is right to continue fighting so hard to save Charlie.”

Charlie has mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

He is only the 16th person in the world to ever have been diagnosed with the condition.

Genetics expert Lord Winston told ITV that the “interferences from the Vatican and from Donald Trump seem to me to be extremely unhelpful and very cruel, actually”.

That was because Charlie was being treated “at a hospital which has huge expertise in mitochondrial disease and is being offered a break in a hospital that has never published anything on this disease, as far as I’m aware”.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told his Italian counterpart that Charlie’s future should be “led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts”.

Following the meeting on Wednesday, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “Minister (Angelino) Alfano raised the case of Charlie Gard and the Pope’s recent offer of treatment in Italy.

“The Foreign Secretary said this was a deeply tragic and complex case for all involved, and said it was right that decisions continued to be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts, in line with Charlie’s best interests.”


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