'We've got everything to be grateful for' - Family prepare for Christmas after toddler's life was saved
The family of a Suffolk toddler whose life was saved after swift action from pre-school staff and paramedics are preparing for a "very special" Christmas.
Annabel Brightwell was just three-years-old when she suffered a cardiac arrest at Barking Pre-school in February due to a pre-existing heart condition unknown to her parents.
Pre-school staff performed CPR for around 20 minutes before a crew from the East Anglian Air Ambulance arrived, and she was flown to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
She was then transferred to the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and spent six days in intensive care at the specialist heart and lung facility.
Against all the odds, Annabel, now four, made a full recovery and even returned to the pre-school a few months after the incident.
MORE: Parents thank life-saving staff at pre-school
Parents William and Rebecca Brightwell, who live at Willisham Tye, near Needham Market, said without the intervention of the pre-school staff and emergency services, Christmas could have been very different this year.
Rebecca said: “There were so many people involved. We haven’t managed to thank all of them yet. It was such a team effort to save Annabel’s life. Christmas could have been very different without them.
“We’ve got everything to be grateful for and seeing Annabel enjoying the lead up to Christmas is very special for us and certainly the best present we could ever wish for.
“We would also like to thank our family and friends for the support they have given us this year.”
MORE: Air ambulance crew reunited with toddler after life-saving mission
Rebecca added that she and William are really keen to raise awareness of the importance of CPR.
“There are two defibrillators in the area and I think a lot wouldn’t know how to use them,” she said.
“Next year we would really like to do more to promote CPR and raise awareness in the community because it’s such an important life-saving skill.”
The staff at Barking Pre-school scooped Overall Star of the Year at this year’s Stars of Suffolk awards for their life-saving response.
Shelley Symonds, Ness Hall, Zoe Corbett, Lucy Glendinning and Elsah Thorpe were honoured at the ceremony held at Trinity Park, Ipswich, in November.
The life-saving crew from the East Anglian Air Ambulance were also reunited with Annabel last month and launched a fundraising campaign called ‘Together This Christmas’.