Tributes paid to Harvey Pettit, from Norton, who has died aged 20

Gazette & Herald: Harvey Pettit with his girlfriend Holly Kneeshaw Harvey Pettit with his girlfriend Holly Kneeshaw

HARVEY Pettiit was a special young man who had the amazing ability to draw people to him and lift them up with his personality and humour according to his family and friends.

The 20-year-old 'Went to Glory' on April 7 after suffering a chest infection brought on by complications following a bone marrow transplant.

His parents, David and Jackie, who live in Norton, said it had been a privilege to have him as their son.

"Harvey did not waste one minute," David said.

"He was somebody who quietly and selflessly got on with his life - he did not do negativity and handled everything in his own way, even in the most challenging of circumstances."

Harvey, who has an older brother Lucas, 22 and sister Levi, aged 10, first fell ill when he was at primary school.

Jackie said: "He was very pale and lethargic so we took him to the doctors who did some blood tests.

"The doctor phoned back the same day to say he was very sorry but he thought it could be some form of leukaemia and we were to take Harvey to St James Hospital in Leeds."

What followed was three and a half years of high dose chemotherapy which wiped out Harvey's immune system and led to three spells in intensive care all before he was eight years old.

Harvey, who was 'a real fighter' pulled through and for the next nine years he remained clear with regular check-ups at the hospital.

However in 2011, while on a trip to Romania to work with disadvantaged children organised through Norton College, he sent text to his parents to say he had a mouth ulcer which wouldn't clear up.

Jackie said: "The moment he stepped off the bus, I knew there was something wrong but he was determined to play a gig with his band that night and when he got home he went straight to bed and slept for two days."

The family were referred to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) where they were told that the leukaemia had returned and Harvey faced another two and a half years of more intensive treatment.

David said: "Harvey has just got a a job at Derwent Pool as a lifeguard and had decided to study music at York College as that was his passion.

"He was a bass player with Ten Car Pile Up and later set up Stranger Than Fiction with his friends Josh Milner and Adam Hymas and he loved playing. Harvey couldn't read music and played everything by ear - he had an amazing talent and yet here we were again with all that being ripped away from him."

Despite commencing treatment, Harvey was able to attend Norton College's sixth form prom where he met his girlfriend Holly Kneeshaw, who also lives in Norton.

David said: "Holly has been with Harvey every step of the way. As a family with faith we prayed that Harvey needed a soulmate and he found Holly."

In September 2012 Harvey was given the devastating news that the leukaemia was resistant to the chemotherapy and the only option was a bone marrow transplant.

Two potentials matches were found with the operation taking place that December.

David said; "We then had to play a waiting game to see if it was successful, but at the end of the month he started with an infection and was put on a life support for 30 days while he fought for his life. On numerous occasions we were told that the next 24 hours would be critical."

"Throughout this time Holly was such a support to Harvey and our family - as it got darker she got brighter and her hope grew."

Harvey managed to pull through,defying doctors and continued to make good progress returning home for Valentine's Day.

However, infections started to reoccur including Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common complication following a bone marrow transplant.

"Basically Harvey's body started to reject his skin which started to peal badly and although he spent Christmas and New Year at home he became increasingly weaker as the medication he was taking suppressed his appetite," David said.

Harvey was readmitted to LGI on February 7 and for the next eight weeks was 'fighting all the time' . He passes away surrounded by Holly and his family.

A farewell to Harvey was held at East Riding Crematorium April 17 which was full to over flowing with family, friends, teachers and hospital staff.

"The support we have had has been amazing and we cannot speak highly enough of the medical teams - from the cleaners to the doctors and consultants they are truly superb."

David added: "I had the privilege of being Harvey's dad and the privilege of being with Harvey when Heaven came down and he stepped in. It was a very powerful and peaceful moment and that is where Harvey now resides."

"Harvey knew his God and Jesus had a really strong relationship with him. Although he sometimes got angry with God he never turned his back on him. Harvey made the right choice and he will live for eternity in Heaven - he went to Glory."

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