Watson Lake native and Olympic cyclist Zach Bell used his website to deliver a heart-wrenching message to friends, family and fans regarding the death of his infant son last week.
“Rebecca and I loved him with all our hearts after only a short time,” wrote Bell in a post on Saturday. “Even though he never had a chance with us here we got to know him and his personality over the last nine months. He has forever changed things for us. Cycling and its challenges seem small compared to what he fought against. We will miss him.”
Paxton Michael Bell was not breathing after he was born to Zach and wife Rebecca on Oct. 13. Mother and child were quickly transported to B.C. Children’s Hospital for treatment.
The prognosis was devastating. In the latter stages of the delivery the umbilical cord stopped providing Paxton with essential nutrients and oxygen, causing severe trauma to the brain.
Informed by doctors Paxton’s condition could not be treated, Zach and Rebecca made the mournful decision to have him removed from life-support. He passed away soon after on Oct. 16.
“Our perfect boy, a perfect pregnancy for my wife, had grown just the way he should have and had everything robbed of him,” wrote Zach.
“The perfect picture of an infant that never had the chance to show his true colours.”
The 29-year-old, who represented Canada at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, explains that he decided to post a statement since Rebecca’s pregnancy was far from secret. It was announced on nationwide television while he competed at the London Games.
“But mostly, I am writing this as a proud father of a little fighter who never had the chance. He had no one to defend him in his moment of need,” wrote Zach. “Telling this only highlights the emptiness that my wife and I feel but I think it is something that needs to be told.”
Zach closes with a plea for people to donate to a fund set up at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Paxton’s name. Instructions on how to donate can be found on Zach’s website.
“The care we received there is something that you can’t possibly understand until you have seen it in action,” wrote Bell. “The compassion and professionalism was breathtaking and I can’t think of any organization that deserves our support more.”
To read Zach’s message and to leave a message, visit his website at zerailleur.com.
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