One Last Tribute to a Precious Toddler: A Disney Funeral

Bailey Massey was born with biliary artresia, a debilitating liver disease caused by nonfunctioning bile ducts. His parents were told, when he was only seven weeks old, that he needed a liver transplant.

Bailey’s father Simon’s liver was a match, so Simon and Bailey underwent surgery on December 20. The surgery was not successful, however; and so Bailey faced a second transplant surgery. That second attempt failed due to a blood complication. When a third transplant was attempted on New Year’s Eve, nine-month-old Bailey died during surgery.

Looking back on Bailey’s short life, his family reminisced about how, despite his illness, Bailey would rock with laughter when watching his favorite cartoon characters on TV. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Fireman Sam, Bob the Builder, Donald and Daisy Duck…. All evoked chuckles from the sick little boy. And so was born a plan: Family members would dress like his favorite characters for the one-mile funeral procession through Bolton-on-Dearne, near Rotherham, to the parish church.

London’s Daily Mail described the family’s unusual tribute to little Bailey:

His grandfather concrete worker Ian Taylor, wearing a Mickey Mouse costume, walked behind the chief mourner. His great uncles, Michael Duggan (Bob the Builder), 33, and Sean Duggan,37 (Fireman Sam) along with family friends Jeanette Otterwell (Donald Duck) and Marie Chamberlain (Daisy Duck) flanked Bailey’s hearse.

Walking behind was Ian’s nephew Ross Taylor, 23, dressed as Minnie Mouse, followed by dozens of mourners as the cortege made the one mile journey….

The family hopes that Bailey’s story will inspire others to become organ donors. “…To give babies, children and other adults a chance of life,” they explained, “people must sign up as donors.”