Brave toddlers help to raise funds for hospital charity

Two brave Cunningsburgh toddlers have helped to raise more than £1,000 for charity months after they were whisked away to Edinburgh for life-saving treatment.

Neve Halcrow, three, and Rocco Drakeford, two, had to be airlifted to the intensive care unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh earlier this year, as both were having difficulty breathing.

Neve and Rocco developed problems, in separate cases in January and February. After being seen by staff at the Gilbert Bain Hospital the ywere flown down to the capital and needed ventilators to help them recover. Mum Kirsti Moncrieff said the croup was so severe that Neve’s airway closed up and doctors had to put a tube down her throat to help her breath.

Neve spent six days on a ventilator and was given steroids to reduce the swelling of her airway.

“It doesn’t even seem real,” said Kirsti. “It feels like a bad dream, I can hardly believe it happened.”

Neve was heavily sedated and spent another five or six days on a separate ward in Edinburgh recovering. “It turned out to be the flu, although she had been vaccinated,” she said. “It just goes to show how severe the flu virus can be in an otherwise healthy toddler,” added Kirsti.

Neve had been admitted to the Gilbert Bain with febrile convulsion – a fit or seizure caused by a fever, and despite seeming okay during the night, she rapidly deteriorated.

“I always do wonder if we weren’t in hospital how things could have been different. I don’t know how quickly we would have got her to hospital. The [staff at] the Gilbert Bain acted immediately and they were brilliant,” said Kirsti. She also praised consultant anaesthetist Catriona Barr at the Lerwick hospital.

Rocco’s mum Dhanika Moar said her son had two respiratory viruses and norovirus and spent 12 days in intensive care in Edinburgh before another eight days on another ward.

Rocco was admitted to the Gilbert Bain suffering from bronchiolitis and had to be resuscitated by doctors before being flown south.

“I don’t think we realised how ill he was until we got to Edinburgh, until we got to the intensive care unit,” said Dhanika.

Last week Rocco’s family re-lived the experience, as it was filmed at the time for a documentary on BBC ALBA, focusing on the hospital retrieval service. “It was quite emotional trying to watch it all back. We tried to forget about it,” said Dhanika.

“It was all very quick. You obviously hear about these things happening to other people but you never think your child is going to be as ill as that.”

Both children have recovered and Dhanika and Kirsti praised the hard work of staff at the Gilbert Bain and in the medical team in Edinburgh.

“She [Neve] was quite tired for a long time but other than that she is absolutely fine now,” said Kirsti.

During their stay, they stayed in specially provided accommodation for parents and families of patients at the children’s hospital.

As a thank you, the families held Sunday teas and a car boot sale at Cunningsburgh hall on 2nd August, and Kirsti’s partner Alexander Halcrow who works as a rigger at SBS at Sullom Voe, sold fancies at his work. In total they raised £1,185 for the Edinburgh Sick Kids Friends Foundation which helps provide the accommodation for visiting families.

“Without the flat that they provided we would’ve been really stuck and it’s nice to know that’s all arranged…,” said Kirsti.

The families would like to thank all those who helped out at the Sunday teas and all those who attended the event.



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