Parents of child with rare condition appeal for ‘lifesaving’ helipad

A couple from Dore are campaigning for a helipad at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, after their daughter fell seriously ill and needed to be transported by air ambulance.

HELP Appeal, a charity which helps to provide funding for helipads, pledges to raise money to donate £2.5 million to fund a new helipad being built at Sheffield Children’s hospital.

Matt and Genna Kik’s daughter, Ellena, has a rare congenital condition which affects her food pipe and airway.

Matt Kik said: “We were devastated to find that she had such a rare condition. The doctors and nurses who provided intensive neo-natal care before Ellena had surgery were incredible, but we were told that she may stop breathing at any time, so they gave us resuscitation training.”

The Kik family took their daughter on holiday to Sherwood Forest, where she became dangerously unwell.

Matt Kik said: “One day she began coughing, choking and spluttering. I thought I know what to do, so I tried to restart her breathing again, but she didn’t respond. She started to turn blue and I watched the life go out of her eyes and the rest of the family was around me looking on.

“I just thought, ‘oh god, she’s gone’. Finally, a rescue breath from me brought Ellena back to life. The paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards recommended that she should be transferred immediately by air ambulance to hospital, so my wife Genna flew with Ellena, while I drove our car to the Sheffield Children’s hospital.”

Sheffield Children’s Hospital currently does not have a helipad for the air ambulance, meaning that helicopters have to land across the road in Weston Park.

Genna Kik said: “As the air ambulance couldn’t land at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, we had to hover over nearby Weston Park, for what seemed like a very long time. I remember that it was a really sunny day, so the park was full of families enjoying themselves. Unfortunately, this meant that it took, for what seemed like forever, for everyone to move a safe distance away before the helicopter could land.

“We were then met by a team of nurses with a trolley, but Ellena was so small and with the park and road to the hospital so uneven, I decided it would be safer to carry her instead.

“Our journey to the hospital then faced another obstacle. We had to wait for the traffic lights to change, before we could run across a very busy road and dash to the expert care that Ellena needed urgently.”

Because of the lack of a helipad and transport delays Genna and Ellena arrived at the hospital 10 minutes before Matt, the father, who drove to the hospital.

After her parents’ quick intervention and receiving hospital care Ellena experiences no lasting effects.

Matt Kik said: “Very quickly Ellena was in a fantastic mood again. She was white as a sheet, but happy and laughing like her normal self.”

Jessica Storer, Head of Fundraising, said: “With the pressures on our Emergency Department growing every year, this project has never been more needed.

“A new Helipad would mean patients can land anytime, thanks to flood lighting and electric trace heating incorporated into the deck to ensure that inclement weather does not disrupt its use. The expanded Emergency Department will also create more space and privacy, ensuring children receive care in the most appropriate setting.”

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