Posted on Monday 18 September 2023
A courageous little girl has teamed up with the emergency services to promote Organ Donation Week by adding a touch of pink to their vehicles.
Two-year-old Beatrix Adamson-Archbold had a life-saving heart transplant earlier this year after spending half her young life in hospital.
Her dad, Durham Constabulary sergeant Terry Archbold, mam Cheryl and sister Eliza have been raising awareness of child organ donation throughout.
And last week, Beatrix got a surprise when she was brought to Durham’s Palace Green where several emergency service vehicles had been wrapped pink in her honour.
Vehicles from Durham Constabulary’s Roads and Armed Policing Unit and the North East Ambulance Service were transformed by Darlington firm, Signage Solutions, in support of the family raising awareness of this week’s Organ Donation Week.
Terry said Beatrix, who goes by Bea, loved seeing all the vehicles turned pink and is doing really well following her life-saving surgery.
He said: “She’s adjusting to life back at home – for 12 weeks she was not allowed to mix with other people, especially children, so we’re gradually starting to introduce normal things.
“It’s been hard because all of her interactions in hospital were with adults so even just recently we took her back to a play group she used to go to before she fell ill and it’s been brilliant to see her running around.
“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.”
Incredibly, Beatrix’s fight is the second time the family has faced such anguish. Daughter Isabel was tragically stillborn in 2018 and the family donated her heart for medical research.
Terry said he was initially against donating Isabel’s heart but was convinced of the benefits after Cheryl had read an article on child organ donation and now he’s glad he did.
He 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.”
Inspector Kevin Salter, of Durham Constabulary’s Roads and Armed Policing Unit, also surprised Beatrix last week.
He said: "It was a privilege and an honour to support and spread the word about the incredible gift of organ donation.
“Seeing Beatrix today with her new heart, full of life running around and chatting away was truly heartwarming and emotional for us all - what an incredible gift she has been given, by an amazing generous act of another.
“We would urge families to consider the selfless act of organ donation which does saves lives.”
Barry Dews, head of the patient transport service at North East Ambulance Service added: “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.”
This year Organ Donation Week is held from today, Monday 18 September, to Sunday 24 September.
Organ Donation Week aims to raise awareness about the ongoing need for organ donors while encouraging people to formally register to opt into the NHS Organ Donor Register.
More than 7,000 people are currently waiting for a transplant across the country.
By confirming your decision to be an organ donor, not only will you be helping these individuals to receive an organ and lead a healthier life but you will also be bringing joy and happiness in the lives of their loved ones.
Signing up as an organ donor takes just two minutes – these two precious minutes could save up to nine lives.
People can register their decision online at any time.
If you would like to become a donor, visit Register your decision - NHS Organ Donation