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Gard family ends legal fight for Charlie: 'We fought so hard for him'

"We will have to live with the 'what-ifs,'" father Chris Gard said Monday.

By Allen Cone
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Gard family ends legal fight for Charlie: 'We fought so hard for him'
Charlie Gard's parents on Monday announced they are ending their legal fight to have their son receive experimental medical treatment in the United States. Photo courtesy Go Fund Me

July 24 (UPI) -- British parents of an ill 11-month-old boy said Monday they're ending their monthslong legal fight to have the child receive experimental medical treatment in the United States.

Since January, Chris and Connie Gard have been trying to raise money for their baby, Charlie, to receive the treatment. After months of legal hurdles, they decided Monday to end the attempt.

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"The window of opportunity no longer exists," Gard attorney Grant Armstrong told the UK High Court in London.

"For Charlie, it is too late...treatment cannot offer a chance of success."

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The parents decided not to pursue the move after the latest round of medical reports and scans for their son, who turns 1 on Aug. 4, the Press Association reported.

The baby's rare genetic condition, which was diagnosed when he was 3 months old, is an inherited mitochondrial disease generally referred to as MDDS, or mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Charlie is unable to move his arms or legs or breathe unaided.

In June, Great Ormond Street Hospital -- where Charlie has been since October -- received permission from the European Court of Human Rights to discontinue life support. But his parents wanted to try the experimental therapy -- nucleoside bypass therapy -- that's never been used to treat Charlie's form of the ailment.

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Chris Gard said the lengthy court case prevented them from receiving the treatment outside Britain.

"We will have to live with the 'what-ifs' which will haunt us for the rest of our lives," he said as he cried. "Our son is an absolute warrior, and we will miss him terribly."

Justice Nicholas Francis was expected to rule this week on the case.

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"These parents should know that no parent could have done more than they did for their child," Francis said.

The child's parents raised nearly $2 million to take him to the United States for treatment. The parents said the money will be donated to help other children with similar genetic conditions.

Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at Columbia University, told the court earlier this month that there was a 10 percent chance of "clinically meaningful success" if Charlie received the treatment.

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"This is about a sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy, who had a genuine chance at life, that's why we fought so hard for him," Chris Gard said. "We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie, who won't make his first birthday in just under two week's time."

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Last week, the hospital said it has received death threats.

"Charlie Gard's case is a heart-breaking one," Mary MacLeod, chairman of Great Ormond Street Hospital said in a statement. "However, in recent weeks the GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance."

Pope Francis and President Donald Trump have expressed support for the family.

"If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so," Trump posted on Twitter on July 3.

That included, Trump said, granting the boy immediate U.S. citizenship.

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