'Warrior' baby left fighting for life just days before his first birthday

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A “warrior” baby born prematurely is fighting for his life as he approaches his first birthday.

Jax Merritt was born in February last year at just 23 weeks. But despite being given little chance of surviving, the “brave” little boy has almost made it to being one year old.

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However, Jax’s health took a turn for the worse before he was taken to Southampton General Hospital on 29 December, our sister title The News reports. Doctors delivered the devastating news to mum Merry Key and her partner Lee Merritt, of Portsmouth, that their boy may not make it home. 

Baby Jax. Pic: Go Fund Me/familyBaby Jax. Pic: Go Fund Me/family
Baby Jax. Pic: Go Fund Me/family

A fundraiser has been set up by Merry’s best friend Kathy Curtis to support the family. It has already smashed its £5,000 target, with £5,500 so far raised.

Lee posted a video clip on social media of Jax in hospital on Sunday (11 February) managing a smile despite tubes being attached to his face. The proud dad said: “Absolute warrior of a boy… still managing a smile even though he’s going through all this. Breaks your heart but we are a very proud family. Thank you everyone for your support.”

Friend Kathy wrote on the Go Fund Me: “I’m setting up this page and asking for help for Merry and Lee at this very hard time. For anyone who doesn’t know, their son Jax was born in February 2023 at 23 weeks with a very slim chance of survival but the little man kept fighting.

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“Jax was taken to Southampton hospital on 29 December and has been there since. A few days ago they were told the news that no parent should ever be told…that he may not go home. The next few days are critical and they have been told to prepare for the worst.

“Jax will be one on 21 February. We aren’t sure what will come but I am asking everyone - actually I’m begging - can we please raise money for Merry and Lee so they can give Jax the best birthday. Whatever is coming I want them to face this without worrying how they will afford things. Lee is self-employed and needs to be with his son not worrying about paying bills. No matter what the donation is, they are so grateful. Thank you to everyone. No parent should go through this.”

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