Former Children’s Air Ambulance patient from Buckinghamshire celebrates 7th birthday
Former Children’s Air Ambulance patient Freddie Williamson – from Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire – is celebrating his 7th birthday on 19 June.
His parents Jess and Kristian will be forever grateful to the national charity that provided a helicopter to fly Freddie to the specialist paediatric care he needed when he was 20 months old. They say: “it was the best thing that ever happened”.
The flight took just 18 minutes compared with a road journey in a land ambulance of 90 minutes without traffic delays.
The family were on holiday in Hastings on Easter Sunday 2016 when Freddie collapsed without any warning.
He was taken to the local hospital – but it was soon decided that he had to be transported urgently to the specialist care team at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London for a diagnosis and treatment.
After carrying out a series of tests, doctors verified that Freddie has a gene defect that causes his body to hold back too much fluid which had caused him to have a seizure. Thankfully he hasn’t had one since and his condition is managed by controlling his diet and fluid intake without him having to take any medication.
According to Jess, he is now “an active, outgoing little boy who loves being outdoors playing football, climbing trees and looking for bugs.”
She will never forget being told that he was going to be flown to London from Hastings.
“I was worried about how they would get Freddie to the Evelina. I thought it would take ages. I was worried he might have a seizure again while he was being transported. Then they told me they were going to take him by helicopter and that the Children’s Air Ambulance would arrive in just 40 minutes.”
“It was a really strange feeling when they said he was going by air ambulance. But also such a relief that our baby was going straight to where he needed to be,” she explains.
Jess was heavily pregnant at the time of Freddie’s trauma – but she was still able to be by his side on the flight, along with members of the South Thames Retrieval Service based at the Evelina Hospital.
“I think he might have been really upset if he’d had to fly without his mum with him,” she says.
Whilst they flew to London, Kristian had to check out of their hotel, take Freddie’s older stepbrother and sister to their grandparents, drive home to collect some essential items and then on to London to join Jess at the hospital.
The family will never forget the Children’s Air Ambulance and the part it played in getting their son to the specialist care he needed as quickly as possible.
“The pilots were fantastic, they were brilliant. We owe so much to them,” says Jess.