Charity helps family fearing for the worst

Gabriella Shears in hospital after contracting a rare type of the parainfluenza virus (HPIV-2).
Gabriella Shears in hospital after contracting a rare type of the parainfluenza virus (HPIV-2).

The family of a little girl who nearly died last year after contracting a serious virus have raised £500 for The Sick Children’s Trust.

Chevonne and Lee Shears, from Morpeth, were given the devastating news that three-year-old daughter Gabriella might die when she had croup, contracted a rare type of the parainfluenza virus (HPIV-2) and an infection in her windpipe, causing it to narrow to the size of a newborn baby’s.

The brave toddler is now back home and doing well.

The brave toddler is now back home and doing well.

The infection, along with the virus, left Gabriella with a collapsed lung and reliant on a life-support machine. Her condition was so severe that she was rushed from the Northumbria hospital in Cramlington to Newcastle’s RVI where her parents were told to prepare for the worst.

Chevonne said: “Everything happened so fast. One minute we thought our daughter had a cold and the next she was struggling to stay alive. We were petrified.

“Within an hour of arriving at our local hospital we were transferred to Newcastle and that’s when we knew that things were not looking good, at all.

“With her windpipe being so narrow, they tried to reduce the swelling but nothing would work. It was awful to see our daughter like this.

“And it was just so unexpected. All we could do was hold her hand and hope she would pull through.”

Gabriella was kept on the life-support machine for three days before doctors attempted to take her off. Thankfully, she responded well and four days later her parents could take her home.

While Gabriella underwent treatment in the RVI, her parents were never more than a few minutes from her hospital bedside as The Sick Children’s Trust supported them with free Home from Home accommodation at Crawford House. The charity runs facilities of this kind across the country.

Chevonne and Lee were given their own private room with a direct telephone line to Gabriella’s ward, alongside access to a communal living room, kitchen and dining area.

“Being offered a room at The Sick Children’s Trust’s Crawford House made a huge difference,” Chevonne said. “It meant that we could leave her side, but feel comforted knowing that if anything did happen the doctors could call us on the direct telephone line in our room.”

This support sparked Chevonne into joining in with the charity’s Big Chocolate Tea campaign and holding an event at her work, which raised £500.

For more information about The Sick Children’s Trust, visit http://www.sickchildrenstrust.org/