Complicated Kids

As parents we recognised that Joe was not unique, there are many children who have multiple medical complicated illnesses which we witnessed so many times and every child with medical conditions will continue to inspire and change text books.

What Joe did give us with all his problems was two more years than any medical text book gave him. We enjoyed and will cherish every minute.


09:00 - 21 May 2008

Joe Way with Matt, Claire, Megan and FinnBalloons filled the sky above St Mawgan during a touching farewell to a four-year-old boy whose life and happy spirits "confounded the textbooks".

Joe Way, who was born with a rare genetic condition, was labelled a 'miracle boy' after surviving meningitis, a potentially deadly skin reaction, and numerous superbugs. He died two weeks ago today, took out the word howeverafter a rapid deterioration in health.

Nearly 200 people packed in to the St Mawgan Church on Friday for a service to say goodbye to Joe, who was known for his smile and his happy demeanour.

Among the congregation were Joe's parents, 37-year-old Matt and 34-year-old Claire Way, his six-year-old sister, Megan, and two-month-old brother, Finn.

Speaking during the service, Mr Way told of his son's resilience and happiness in the face of all his health problems.

"Joe always had a smile on his face, that was the way he dealt with it," he said.

"Joe made the worst of times the best of times. He had a smile that could catch you and so many people were touched by him, even if they spent one day, a couple of hours, or a few years with him.

"We are very privileged to have been his parents and we will always love him. We thank Joe for being the best little man that he could be."

The service featured hymns, prayers, the lighting of candles and a slideshow of pictures of Joe during his short life.

The Rev Chris McQuillen-Wright paid tribute to Joe's fighting spirit. He said: "Joe was unique. He confounded all the textbooks. He always did the total opposite to what the textbooks said he should do.

"He gave each and every one of us his smile. He's not the type of boy we need to try to remember, he is simply the kind of boy we will never forget."

At the end of the ceremony, the congregation were given balloons and cards for people to send their personal messages for Joe - an idea thought up by his sister, Megan.

The service then spilled outside on to the streets of St Mawgan, as about 150 of the balloons were released - climbing skyward in the light wind.

Sunflower seeds were also handed out so people could plant them in memory of Joe, to remind people of his bright and inspirational spirit.

The family then went on to a private interment. A reception at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel followed. Fund-raising for the Cornwall Precious Lives Appeal to build a children's hospice in the county is still ongoing in Joe's name.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can call Andrew Henwood funeral directors on 01637 851199 or send a cheque with Joe's name on the back to 74 Edgcumbe Avenue, Newquay, TR7 2NN.

Those who want to donate direct to the Precious Lives Appeal can go to Click here to donate

Daniel Williams Community Editor Newquay Guardian