The fundraising campaign for a life-saving helipad at Sheffield Children’s Hospital took a major step forward following a £562,500 charity donation.
The HELP Appeal’s chief executive, Robert Bertram, last week presented the second installment of its £2.25m pledge to David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity.
It takes the fundraising efforts for the helipad to more than £1.3m.
The HELP Appeal is the only charity in the country that funds lifesaving NHS hospital helipads.
And, in 2016, it helped fund the helipad at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.
Its total donation of £2.25m will cover half the cost of the helipad.
The £6m The Children’s Hospital Charity’s appeal is raising includes a contingency fund should costs rise before its expected completion in 2023.
Due to its status as a regional major trauma centre, the emergency department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital helps up to 200 children a day.
And the helipad will ensure a smooth patient transfer for patients who need critical care directly into the hospital without having to cross the road.
Currently, air ambulances land in Weston Park and patients are then transported across the busy A57 under a police escort before entering the emergency department.
One child who knows how important a helipad would be for the major trauma centre is 15-year-old Bradley Duke.
In January 2017, he was seriously injured in a car crash on his way to school.
Everyone in the car was knocked unconscious and Bradley sustained multiple fractures to his skull, face, spine and wrist.
An air ambulance was called to the scene of the crash and Bradley was put into an induced coma before being taken to Sheffield Children’s Hospital.
The helicopter landed in Weston Park where he was met by a team of emergency medicine professionals who rushed him across the busy road into the hospital’s resuscitation area.
There he underwent a six-hour long operation and spent more than a month in hospital, including nine days in a coma, before his discharge.
He continues to struggle with his short-term memory, but has now returned to school, where together with his classmates he is fundraising for the new helipad.
“Building the helipad and expanding the emergency department would help ensure the staff have the facilities they need to save more lives like Bradley’s”, said his mother, Claire.
The new helipad would also ensure air ambulances are able to land in the park after dark, significantly extending its operation throughout winter.
And it will have electric trace heating incorporated into the deck to ensure that ice and snow do not disrupt the continued use of the facility during periods of inclement weather.
David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “This new helipad has never been more needed, to help patients who need critical care arrive at our emergency department as quickly as possible.
“We’re so grateful to the HELP Appeal for its generous support as we move one step closer to making this life-saving project a reality.”