Pictured: Bea with mam and dad, Terry and Cheryl, and emergency services colleagues from Durham Constabulary and the North East Ambulance Service.

Emergency services team up with brave little girl to raise awareness of Organ Donation Week

The North East Ambulance Service joins forces with Durham Constabulary to raise awareness of Organ Donation Week (18-24 September) with the help of a very brave little girl and heart transplant patient.

Two-year-old Beatrix Adamson-Archbold, known affectionately as Bea, underwent a life-saving heart transplant earlier this year. In her honour, and to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation for Organ Donation Week, the service is teaming up with police colleagues, the Northern Organ Donation Service, and Bea’s dad, Durham constabulary sergeant Terry Archbold, by wrapping some vehicles in pink.

Last week the service had the very special opportunity for crews to meet Bea at Durham’s Palace Green and surprise her with a new pink ambulance alongside our police colleagues, and her parents Terry and Cheryl.

Terry shared that Bea loved seeing all of the pink vehicles and is doing well post-surgery. He said: “The reality is that when she was in hospital, you were worried if every day would be her last, so you lived each day and every extra day was a bonus.

“You always hoped she was coming home but there were never any guarantees so it’s a massive adjustment for all of us now she has.

He added: “Bea is, along with all the children given that second chance, testament to how important that gift of life is and seeing that ripple out.

“The child who saved Bea will have also saved other children.”

Bea’s illness and journey to a heart transplant is not the first time the family have faced heartache. In 2018, their daughter Isabel was tragically stillborn, and the family chose to donate her heart for medical research. Terry was initially hesitant to donate Isabel’s heart but was convinced by partner Cheryl after reading an article on child organ donation.

Terry is now glad that he and Cheryl made that choice but said: “It’s an extremely difficult decision to make as a parent but a really precious gift and now Bea and other kids have all got a chance at life.

“The reality is if you are in a position of being asked to donate organs, that loss is going to take place, so if that’s the case, there’s an opportunity to save lives.

“When we lost Isabel, we did agree to donate her heart and at the time I said no, I did not want anything to do with it, but this is where I have since been able to look at why I initially said no and Cheryl said yes.

“Cheryl has read a magazine article talking about organ donation in children and it stuck in her head whereas I had never given it a second thought so when that moment arrived and my emotions were protective, I was very much thinking no, no one is going to touch her, but because Cheryl had had that awareness that we talked about it, we were able to agree to that donation and that’s the power of that awareness.”

As part of the service’s patient transport service, crews often transport dialysis patients to and from their hospital appointments and see first-hand how lifesaving and life-changing the opportunity of a donated organ can be for poorly patients.

Barry Dews, head of the patient transport service, said: “Joining together with the Northern Organ Donation Services Team is a perfect partnership for us to share the hugely important message about organ donation, especially as we transport patients every day of the week for life saving dialysis and cancer treatment.

“We hope that by wrapping two of our vehicles in pink, we can help raise awareness and support this worthy cause. Our patient transport service ambulance is one of 214 PTS vehicles working across the North East, transporting an average of 46,000 journeys every month for routine hospital appointments, including dialysis. Our logistics vehicle will also be travelling across the region every day, transporting spare equipment to our ambulance crews. As such, we hope to be able to spread this message far and wide over the coming months.”

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