LOCAL inspiration James Cox was invited to Belfast for the official launch of the first ever bespoke children’s ambulance in the North.
Funded by the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, the ambulance, which is kitted out with toys and sensory lights, aims to provide children and their families with a ‘welcoming and comforting space’ when they are in need of potentially life-saving emergency support.
In May 2021, then three-year-old James took part in a country-wide walking challenge, a ‘Mile a Day in May’ campaign, raising £6,361.85 for the non-profit organisation.
James’s mother, Terina, admits they felt ‘very privileged’ to be invited up to Belfast for the launch day.
“We had to keep it a secret that we were going up as it was a surprise for everyone that the ambulance was being launched,” explains Terina.
“The day was emotional as you were reliving your experiences of having a child with CHD [Coronary heart disease] and being in an ambulance and travelling to London for the operation.
“You tend to push these traumatic experiences to the back of your mind and days like this tend to bring them back, but thankfully on Wednesday the memories were brought back to us for a positive reason.”
Days after James was born, it was discovered that the Mulleek newborn was diagnosed with a hole in his heart, along with several other abnormalities and problems to his major organ.
His condition deteriorated and he was whipped across the water to London where he had to undergo major open-heart surgery.
Thankfully, after several months and years of treatment at various hospitals and support from non-profit organisations, James now ‘deals so well’ with the many challenges that he faces.
Terina feels that the new specialised ambulance will greatly benefit children living with conditions like Coronary heart disease.
“It will make the most frightening and difficult journey a little bit easier,” said the mother of two, “it is fully equipped with the latest specialist medical equipment and has a number of features to help entertain younger people on the journey.”
The Cox family is now very proud that the money raised has gone to such a worthwhile cause.
“We were just so proud to think that our efforts helped towards the purchase of the ambulance,” recalled Terina, “our total was thanks to the people of the Fermanagh area and also surrounding areas.
“Words cannot describe how proud we are of James.”
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