Why we fly

Theo’s Story

When they told me that Theo needed emergency surgery my world stopped. I can’t explain the feeling of knowing your child is desperately ill, and the treatment is miles away. I can’t say thank you enough for flying him to safety.

Denisa, Theo’s mum

The 12th May 2013 will always resonate with the Children’s Air Ambulance. Theo Ratchford became our first patient that we flew to the support he so desperately needed.

It was an event filled with so much pain and heartache for all involved, but thanks to the efforts of the specialists, and our invaluable assistance it became a miraculous story with the happiest of endings.

Theo was born in Scarborough Hospital, five days overdue and after a difficult labour, which resulted in a caesarean section.

He was tiny, weighing less than 5lbs. His mum Denisa told us it was the best moment of her life, that quickly turned into the worst.

Theo needed emergency surgery because his oesophagus wasn’t properly connected to his stomach. And worse still, the surgery had to be done in Hull Royal Infirmary, over an hour’s drive away. Time Theo didn’t have to spare.

That day, we were able to come to Theo’s rescue.

Our specialist helicopter flew him to Hull in just 15 minutes and might just have saved his life.

We’re pleased to say that once Theo was safely transferred, he went on to have successful surgery and make a full recovery.

Theo’s journey was an historic milestone for the Children’s Air Ambulance. Not only was it our maiden mission, but it was the first emergency airlift of its kind involving Embrace, a national organisation which organises the transfer of babies and children to specialist treatment centres around the UK.

The story of Theo – and the many children we have helped over the years – are the real reasons why we do this. Their life above all. We believe that no child deserves these starts or setbacks in life and we are so proud to be a part of their recovery.

With no government funding, we rely wholly on the donations we receive from the public and businesses around the country. Without your help, stories like Theo’s wouldn’t be possible. No matter how small the contribution, every penny goes towards ensuring that whenever and wherever a child is in need of treatment, we are there every step of the way.

“As we flew along, we could see congested roads and the difficulty a land ambulance would face, especially if it needed to travel in rush hour traffic. It’s cases like this where every minute can, and does, count.” (Shaun Tinkler-Rose, Children’s Air Ambulance lead pilot.)