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Declan’s story

In less than 24 hours Declan went from a poorly boy, to a boy fighting for his life. He needed specialist care that was 100 miles away – we flew him in 43 minutes.

One night parents Ashleigh and Andy went to bed knowing their two sons were sleeping soundly only to be awoken by their oldest boy, Declan, crying. He was covered in a rash with back and neck pain – they immediately rushed him to hospital.

At their local hospital St Helier, Surrey, the doctors and nurses undertook a range of tests to determine what was causing Declan’s symptoms. His temperature was over 40 degrees, the rash now covered most of his body, his skin had started to blister and he had become listless.

The doctors believed Declan was suffering from a rare and life threatening skin condition called toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) that affects 1 in a million people per year. This would cause his skin to blister and fall off, and there is no cure.

It was agreed that if Declan was to stand any chance of surviving he urgently needed care from a paediatric intensive care unit, a burns unit, a dermatologist and an eye specialist. To get that care he needed to be airlifted to Bristol – over 100 miles away.

We airlifted Declan safely in just 43 minutes. The journey by road took his parents nearly three hours.

Declan still had weeks of pain and worry ahead as he battled against TEN eventually losing 96% of his skin. They were also able to determine that this was triggered by Declan’s sensitivity to an antibiotic. Later that year Declan celebrated his 7th birthday – a milestone his mother thought he might not see.

“Declan wouldn’t be here now if it had not been for that air transfer to Bristol to get specialist care he desperately needed. If he’d had to go by road I am not sure he would have survived the journey.”

Ashleigh, Declan’s mum

With your support, we’ll be proud to see more little patients like these grow up.

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