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'He brought us so much' - JJ's grieving parents help to raise awareness of cot death

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Baby JJ Harford died of cot death aged just 10 weeks on February 17 last year

Baby JJ Harford died of cot death aged just 10 weeks on February 17 last year

Baby JJ Harford died of cot death aged just 10 weeks on February 17 last year

A grieving mother has bravely spoken out about the "hardest" year of her life following the death of her 10-week-old baby boy.

On February 17 last year, baby JJ Harford, from Balbriggan, left his parents and two sisters utterly heartbroken after he passed away from cot death.

Although it's been nearly a year since JJ's unexpected death, the devastating loss for his loving family is felt every day.

"This past year has been the most difficult year in our family's lives after losing a much-loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and cousin," his mum Grainne said.

"We celebrated Christmas morning with our two daughters with the biggest pain in our hearts, wishing our son was here with his family."

To mark JJ's first birthday, Ms Harford said she should be buying him presents to mark the happy occasion. Sadly, she had to choose a headstone for him instead.

His family are now on a mission to keep JJ's memory alive and raise awareness of cot death.

"He may have only been here for a short while, but he brought us so much happiness and made us all smile," added Ms Harford.

"I loved every second being with him.

"Throughout this year, fundraising and raising awareness of cot death has been my goal, and I would like to thank each and every person who has shown their support to us, and to FirstLight by keeping Baby JJ in their thoughts."

FirstLight has been providing crisis intervention and free professional counselling to bereaved parents and family members for more than 40 years.

"For any family to lose a child, part of you dies with them," Ms Harford said.

Emptiness

"There is an emptiness that can never be filled. Only other families in our same position really understand this, and we hope they also can get the support and counselling they need via FirstLight."

On February 16, Swords Boxing Club hosts a charity coffee morning in memory of JJ. Lord Mayor of Fingal Eoghan O'Brien, European boxing gold medallist Niamh Fay and Fair City actress and FirstLight ambassador Una Crawford O'Brien will attend.

All money donated will go to the counselling service.