Former patient’s mum says his Children’s Air Ambulance transfer was “the best thing that ever happened”
As former Children’s Air Ambulance patient Freddie Williamson – from Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire – celebrates his 6th birthday today (June 19th) his Mum Jess says that the helicopter getting him to the specialist paediatric care he needed in just 18 minutes was “the best thing that ever happened”.
The family were on holiday in Hastings on Easter Sunday 2016 when Freddie suddenly 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.
Freddie is now a happy, active little boy who loves to go on bug hunts in the fields near where he lives with his parents and younger brother, Bobby (4).
He is enjoying being back at school two days a week after lockdown.
“We will go for a walk on his birthday and probably come back with another pot of insects! We are really limited as to what we can do at the moment because of the lockdown restrictions but that will be a really good day for Freddie” says Jess.
She will never forget being told that he was going to be flown to London from Hastings – a road journey that would take about 90 minutes.
“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, her husband 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.
Vital missions like Freddie’s wouldn’t be possible without public support, to help more babies and children like Freddie, click here