In August 2020, eight-year-old Tommy Carroll from Accrington was caught in a horrifying burns accident after he was caught by the flames in a garden chiminea.
After receiving first aid from his dad, Martin Carroll, the North West Air Ambulance Charity (NWAA) was called to scene to provide critical treatment and airlift Tommy to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where he spent six weeks in intensive care and underwent a gruelling thirteen rounds of surgery.
The terrifying accident has ended on a positive though. Now fully recovered, Tommy’s time in hospital ended up reuniting his parents, who had previously been separated for four years. Martin and Tommy’s mum, Kyra, reconnected during his recovery at Alder Hey and when he was finally able to return home, Martin began to spend more time in their family home to help care for Tommy and his younger brother Leo, bringing the family back together again.
Since the accident, Kyra and the family have been keen to say thank you and raise awareness of the lifesaving charity. Stephen Lee, Tommy’s grandfather, walked 70km on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in December, raising over £1,000 for the air ambulance.
NWAA is entirely charity funded, relying on generous donations, volunteers, and fundraisers to remain operational. It takes over £9.5 million a year to fund the work of its highly skilled Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) paramedics, doctors and pilots, who attend to cases of serious illness and traumatic injury 365 days a year. In 2020, the charity attended 2,570 missions in total, including 759 in Lancashire.
Kyra Lee said: “On the day, things happened so fast that we never really got the chance to say thank you, but we are so grateful for what the air ambulance did for Tommy and our family. They were so kind and understanding on what was such a traumatic day. If the crew hadn’t got there so quickly, things could have been so much worse.
“In the weeks following the incident, Tommy had severe anxiety, but Martin and I are so proud to have our little boy back and to all be together again. In a way, his accident brought our family back together during one of the worst moments of mine and Martin’s lives. The North West Air Ambulance Charity has been fantastic ever since, providing bravery certificates and teddy bears for Tommy and Leo, and my dad was so determined to do something to raise money, so the boys loved joining him on some of his walk!”
Piers, HEMS Paramedic, at the North West Air Ambulance Charity, said: “When accidents such as this happen, getting to the scene as quickly as possible is absolutely vital to minimise injuries and get the patient appropriate care. Tommy needed specialist care urgently, and working closely with the ambulance service and the team at Alder Hey, we were able to get him into surgery quickly, so he had the best chance at recovery. It’s brilliant to see Tommy is fighting fit, the fact his mum and dad were able to reunite is the icing on the cake! The family have done a brilliant job fundraising ever since, and this support means we can continue to be there for other patients in need, like Tommy, in the future.”
To donate to the charity, text HELPNWAA5 to 70085 to donate £5*.
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