To mark the second anniversary of being flown by Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance 13-year-old Rosie Jeffs climbed to the top of Mount Snowden to raise funds for the charity she – and her family – credit with saving her life.
For a teenager who was told at various stages in her recovery from life threatening multiple injuries that she would never ride a bicycle again and would have to wait a long time before playing sports, completing the 7 hour trek to the summit and back down was an amazing achievement.
Rosie has defied doctors since she was involved in an accident in April 2017 when she was thrown off the back of her dad’s motorcycle when he had to brake suddenly.
She and her 16-year-old brother Thomas often went out for rides with their dad, Jamie, and always wore protective clothing and helmets. But when Rosie was thrown off the back of the motorcycle to the opposite side of the road she landed with such force the safety kit wasn’t enough to prevent her sustaining horrendous injuries.
She suffered 10 breaks and fractures to her right femur, tibia, fibula; her left shoulder; her pelvis and jaw.
Rosie’s mum, Syreeta, and brother drove to the scene of the accident after receiving a phone call from Jamie to say what had happened. She says:
“When we got there paramedics from the land ambulance were cutting off Rosie’s protective gear. I remember there was a bone sticking out of her leg. After about ten minutes the air ambulance appeared in the sky and landed in the grounds of a large house nearby.”
“Rosie was losing a lot of blood – we found out later that her life expectancy was only about 45 minutes. “
“The air ambulance crew sedated Rosie, made her comfortable and got her into the helicopter. I was able to fly with her and we arrived at Birmingham Children’s Hospital in just seven minutes.”
“If she hadn’t got to a hospital so quickly she would have bled to death from her internal injuries.”
A medical team were waiting at Birmingham and as soon as the doors of the air ambulance opened they started treating Rosie. She was taken to intensive care and given a blood transfusion and full body scan.
After a seven hour surgery on both legs, Rosie was in hospital for a month during which time she had an operation to put plates in her femur, tibia and fibula. Syreeta stayed with her daughter every day and Jamie and Thomas moved into family accommodation near the hospital.
When she was discharged Rosie was in a wheelchair which meant the family had to convert their dining room into a temporary bedroom for her.
However, the plucky young lady was determined not to be held back by this and continued to do everything she enjoyed including day-trips to the seaside and drama summer-camps!
She had to take her SATS exams at home but was able to return to school – still in a wheelchair – three months after the accident.
“Everything was difficult and it was a struggle for us as a family. We had always been very outdoorsy and being confined to the house was very hard for Rosie,” says Syreeta.
Rosie has had to undergo two further operations to remove screws and plates when her broken bones healed. Over time she went from being in a wheelchair to using a zimmer frame and then crutches and a walking stick.
She’s now back to full health: playing hockey, enjoying taking part in dramatic productions and riding – to name a few of the activities she enjoys.
The Snowden climb this April was set as a challenge to keep her motivated during her long recovery period and physiotherapy sessions.
“The air ambulance saved my life and I wanted to do something to say thank you. Whenever I see it flying overhead I blow it a kiss,” says Rosie.
Her JustGiving page is still open for anybody who wants to sponsor her Snowden climb. The details are: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rosie-jeffs1