Brave tot marks his first birthday

Embrace staff accept the cheque from the Blakeley family. Pictured are back l-r Embrace driver and Embrace nurse with Finley's two grandmas (I don't know their names but I can get them no prob if you need them) and front l-r Louie, Chris, Jenna and Finley.
Embrace staff accept the cheque from the Blakeley family. Pictured are back l-r Embrace driver and Embrace nurse with Finley's two grandmas (I don't know their names but I can get them no prob if you need them) and front l-r Louie, Chris, Jenna and Finley.

A tot has celebrated his first birthday with the ambulance staff who saved his life four times.

Finley Blakeley, who was born nine weeks early, turned one surrounded by his loving family as well as nurses and drivers from Embrace, the region’s dedicated paediatric critical care transport team.

To say thank you for his care, dad Chris Blakeley and teammates from Leeds Waterpolo team took part in the Great North Swim, raising over £3000 for The Children’s Hospital Charity, which was presented on the day.

Finley’s mum Jenna Blakeley said: “It is difficult to put into words how special it is to be here on Finley’s first birthday.

“Thinking back to those days when he was so unwell, how we nearly lost him, it is incredible to all be here with him doing so well. Ever since his last journey with Embrace he has just got stronger and stronger.”

The family, from Ullswater Avenue, Dewsbury, welcomed Finley last October, but weighing just 3lb 8oz, the tiny tot needed specialist care and was transported to Pinderfields hospital in Wakefield.

But just a few weeks after he returned home he stopped breathing and was rushed to Dewsbury and District Hospital.

When staff at Dewsbury were unable to fit a vital tube the ambulance staff transported Finley to Leeds General Infirmary.

Dad Chris Blakeley said: “When Embrace arrived, we started to understand exactly what they were capable of.

“They stepped in, took control of the situation, got the tube in place and within the next couple of hours they had Finley stabilised and ready for transport. Even though Dewsbury were fantastic, what Finley needed was an intensive care team like Embrace, who specialise in saving little babies’ lives.”

He was transported to Sheffield Children’s Hospital when he stopped breathing again just four days after he returned home.

But now Finley has gone from strength to strength.

At aged one he is still just 15lb and wears clothes for a 3-6 month old baby – but he is thriving, active and loves trying to walk everywhere he goes.

Cheryl Davidson, community fundraiser at the Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “Thanks to the family’s generous fundraising, we can continue to provide Embrace with life-saving equipment and improvements to the ambulance environment, to help more children and their families like Finley’s.”

Visit www.tchc.org.uk for more on the Children’s Hospital Charity.