The Roberts-Shepherd family, from Kingstanding, is calling on local residents to join them in supporting Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity’s Critical Journeys Appeal, which is just £250k off its £2million target.

The appeal is raising money to kit out four Critical Care Ambulances with the latest, life-saving medical equipment. This will enable the KIDS/NTS service to respond faster and more effectively, helping critically ill patients and their families in the West Midlands get to the right place, at the right time, for the right treatment.

When Jaxon Roberts-Shepherd was just four months old, he was diagnosed with severe bronchiolitis and had to be transferred by the KIDS/NTS team from his local hospital to a specialist intensive care unit over an hour away. His tiny veins meant he had to have part of his hair shaved so a tube could be inserted into his head because they could not find a vein in his hand to fit a cannula. He also had to have an intraosseus infusion in both legs to gain an access point before they ventilated him, which failed resulting in a central line having to be fitted into his groin area. He was then ventilated and transferred to Stoke Paediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Mum, Karen, described the day as ‘just horrific’, she commented: “We were in such a dark place and really thought we were going to lose Jaxon. We owe the KIDS/NTS team so much - they are angels in disguise, and simply amazing. Although what was happening to our son was the most traumatic experience we have ever gone through, the medical staff were very efficient, and reassured us of what they were doing to Jaxon.  I must give a special mention to the ambulance driver who was working voluntary - he was so lovely and offered support to us at a very distressing time, especially to my husband.

“Any one of us who has a child in the West Midlands could need the KIDS/NTS service at any time. Before Jaxon had bronchiolitis, I hadn’t heard of KIDS/NTS but it’s after an incident like this you are so thankful for their expertise and skill. I hope you join us in supporting the appeal.”

In 2016, Kids’ Intensive Care and Decision Support (KIDS) and the Newborn Transfer Service (NTS) merged to form KIDS/NTS. Jaxon is just one of over 2,000 babies, children and young people moved by the KIDS/NTS service every year.

Money raised through the Critical Journeys Appeal will fund state-of-the art-equipment for a fleet of four Critical Care Ambulances, removing the need for equipment to be shared between them. This in time, will ensure the KIDS/NTS service can respond to simultaneous demands and increase response time, ultimately resulting in better care for critically ill babies and children helping to save more lives.

This, much-needed appeal will also enable the KIDS/NTS service to continue to deliver specialist care with compassion, by providing parents and children with added comforts such as phone chargers, snacks, teddy bears and DVDs as a welcome distraction in their time of need.

Emma Bull, Lead Nurse at KIDS/NTS, said: “We’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported the Critical Journeys Appeal so far. Our team is committed to providing the very best service possible for all the children and families who we look after. This much-needed appeal will help us to upgrade our equipment and kit out our ambulances, enabling us to be response-ready at all times. In turn, this will allow us to move more patients with the same level of specialist equipment used in specialist care, making sure we can get our patients to the right place, at the right time for the right treatment.”