TWO young brothers born with the same rare brain disorder died within three weeks of each other.
Charlie and Sharon Corcoran’s three-year-old son Charlie Jnr passed away just 23 days after newborn Noah, who was just six hours old.
Both boys had a genetic condition called polymicrogyria, which causes abnormal development of the brain in the womb.
The devastated couple, from Neasden, north west London, say they’ve been left broken after losing their children in June and July last year.
HGV driver Charlie, 29, who is originally from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland said: “Noah broke our heart into bits, and Charlie took away whatever was left.
“Ever since, we have been existing rather than living, we’re empty and feel like different people, we’re just trying to get through each day.
“I feel like I’m staggering through life.”
Sharon, 23, said: “We’ll never be the same again. It’s very lonely, there are reminders of the boys everywhere.”
Charlie Jr was born in June 2015 and diagnosed with polymicrogyria at just three weeks old.
The rare condition causes the brain to develop an abnormally high number of folds which grow closer together than usual and interrupt nerve signals.
When the couple found out they were expecting again in December 2017, they were told their new baby also had the same cruel disease.
Doctors said the infant was unlikely to survive birth and Sharon was forced to have an emergency cesarean section at 32 weeks.
Noah battled for life but died six hours after being born on June 11, 2018.
The heartbroken parents went home to be with their son Charlie, but tragically just three weeks later on July 4 he also passed away – two days after celebrating his third birthday.
Charlie said: “Sharon had to give birth knowing that Noah wouldn’t make it.
Our family brought Charlie Jr in and for six hours we were able to be a family together.
“It was really difficult, as the hours went on we got more and hopeful he’d survive.
“I’ve never cried so much before, it was difficult to keep it up.
“When Noah passed away I held him and he cried out in the final moments before he died.
Right before he passed away I put him on Sharon’s chest and he opened his eyes and looked at Sharon.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
“Every time I tried to walk away I couldn’t – it was just too heartbreaking.”
Charlie Jr had frequent seizures and required full time care and medication throughout his short life.
He bounced back from seven successive stays in intensive care.
Charlie said: “We were always told Charlie Jr wouldn’t be able to live a normal life, or walk or talk.
“But he brought so much to our life, he had so much character about him and had a spark that could light up a room.
“Two days after his birthday we went back into the hospital because his breathing had become a struggle.
We knew deep down it was going to be his final time. We spent two days in hospital holding him and playing music to him.
“On July 4 we knew how bad he was getting and we rang all our family and friends and told them we weren’t sure if he had much longer left.
“I was holding him in those final moments. I was telling him it was OK to go, we didn’t want him to suffer anymore and that he could go and be with Noah.
“Right before he passed away he made two sounds like he was trying to say something, and then he took his final breath.
We knew he was gone, we were in bits.
“The final photos of us in the hospital room show us together as a real and proper family.
“It was a fleeting moment but it’s always something we can look back on.”
Since losing their sons, Charlie and Sharon have been tested to see who is the carrier of the gene, but are yet to get conclusive results.
It means they don’t know if they will be able to have any more children without passing on the disease.
The couple are raising money on GoFundMe for Northwick Park Hospital in Wembley where Charlie Jr was cared for.