Three-year-old Tasmanian boy Alby Fox Davis told mother Anna Davis he couldn’t wait to go to bed beneath his brand new doona cover just 40 minutes before choking to death in her arms.
Mrs Davis has shared the heart-breaking story of Alby’s last hours in a series of Instagram posts. He choked on a bouncy ball from a party favour ahead of what would have been his fourth birthday celebration.
An image of Alby tucked under his new doona cover and taken at 2.49pm on Monday bears the caption, “I can’t wait to go to bed tonight Mum!”. The poignant image has wrenched the hearts of more than 7000 people around the world who have donated more than $200,000 through a crowd funding page.
“Minutes pass like hours and the gaping hole in our lives and hearts is completely incomprehensible. We adore you beyond belief, our sweet little fox,” Ms Davis wrote in an Instagram post.
“Forever three, forever three.”
The post is among thousands of images of Alby, and his two siblings, Acre Roo and Sage Mila, on social media page The Small Folk that features pictures of the children on beach trips or playing with toys from the family’s “holistic” toy and homewares business.
The New Daily understands Alby’s death has created a ripple effect across the community of Wynyard, with a meal roster set up and plans for a community mental health check-in event.
While the Davis family and friends have asked for privacy, the GoFundMe page has more than doubled its goal of raising $100,000 for the family.
The crowd-funding page explains that Alby’s father, Simon, is a relief teacher and not able to take leave to mourn his son.
“In this time of unfathomable grief, this beautiful family need time to mourn and surround each other in love, without having the financial burdens of daily life and work commitments on their minds,” the page says.
“As Simon is a relief teacher, he is not entitled to any leave, and as so many of you know, Anna is self-employed with her much-loved business, The Small Folk,” the page said.
A neighbour to the family, who did not wish to be identified, told the ABC that parents in the community were trying to come to terms with the death.
“We are all thinking of the family now, our hearts are broken for them,” he said.
“It seems like one of those freak accidents that are a living nightmare for any parent. As a parent I can’t fathom what they are going through.
“The family are absolutely shattered and need their own space right now, as they deal with the death of their child. They are such down-to-earth people – they are a lovely family.”