Tom Evans, father of critically ill child Alfie Evans, flew to Rome on Tuesday evening to ask Pope Francis to save his son.
Tom met with Francis Wednesday, kissed his hand and asked “Your holiness save our son,” according to BBC. He flew to meet Francis after the U.K. High Court blocked his and Kate James’ appeal for Alfie to receive continued treatment at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, against a previous ruling mandating that Alfie be taken off life support. Tom and Kate have since filed an appeal directly to the U.K. Supreme Court and currently await the court’s decision.
“No sleep! No food! No tie! No care!!! Last night I jumped on a plane and come to Vatican Rome to meet the pope 1 hour ago and here we are,” Tom wrote in a Wednesday Facebook post in which he shared pictures of his meeting with Francis.
“ALFIE WE WILL DO EVERYTHING FOR YOU. YOUR NOT DYING SO SO WE WONT ALLOW YOUR LIFE TO BE TAKEN. YOUR HOLINESS SAVE OUR SON,” Tom wrote.
Francis led a moment of silent prayer for Alfie during his general audience on Wednesday after meeting with Tom.
Alfie, born in May of 2016, suffers from an unknown neurological degenerative condition, which hospital staff say has reduced him to a vegetative state and eaten away at his brain. The staff of Alder Hey Hospital, where Alfie has been treated, argue that continued treatment for Alfie would be futile and that it is the child’s “best interest” to let him die.
Alfie’s parents have waged an extensive legal battle to have him undergo continued treatment, as they argue that he is not dying and that his cognitive functions are actually improving. The U.K. High Court, appeals court, and the European Court of Human Rights have all sided with the hospital.
Alfie’s parents’ last hope to have him undergo continued treatment rests with their current appeal before the U.K. Supreme Court.
Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre, which has represented Tom and Kate in court, told the BBC that Tom asked Francis to grant Alfie asylum.
Tom’s visit with Francis, said Williams, “shows the power of a father’s love.”
“When every avenue has been shut down in this country it shows he won’t give up,” Williams added. “He wants his son to be given a chance to live which is being denied when there are places prepared to look after him.”
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