The brave little girl who will spend every Christmas in hospital - unless she gets a new heart
Little battler Beatrix Archbold spent her Christmas waiting for Santa to come – to her hospital bed.
The 23-month-old can never leave the ward unless she gets a new heart. She spends her whole life attached to tubes.
Mum Cheryl, from Roker, said: “Beatrix is like every child who is waiting for a transplant. Without that, none of these children are going home.”
The mini superhero has had a series of health scares in the days leading up to Christmas.
She contracted bronchiolitis - a chest infection which affects babies and children aged under 2.
Straight after that, she picked up a sickness bug.
And then a blood clot developed in the artificial ventricle which keeps her alive.
It was only thanks to the ever-excellent nurses at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle that it was spotted, said dad Terry.
"It could have gone straight to her brain. If it had come loose, the impact would have been very quick such as a stroke.”
‘Beatrix has said her first words’
Beatrix was taken off her artificial organ. Her own poorly heart had to work on its own while she was expertly transferred to new equipment by surgeons, said Terry.
“It was an awful time. If the nurses had not spotted it, she could have gone.”
Beatrix has lost a lot of weight but there have been festive highlights too.
She said her first words while she was in hospital. “She said snowman and baby,” said dad.
"There is a snow family in the playroom. There’s a mum, dad and a baby. Her speech is coming on well.”
Panto star Joe McElderry meets Beatrix
Another highlight was when Joe McElderry and the rest of the cast of Cinderella – the panto at Newcastle Theatre Royal – visited the children on the ward.
But there was no opportunity to enjoy the festivities at home. Instead, Father Christmas came to her bedside at the Freeman.
She had an operation to fit a line into her body so she could receive medication but she had a cardiac arrest and was saved by expert surgeons at the Freeman who performed open heart surgery.
Beatrix can’t leave unless a heart is found. She is attached to tubes which act as her ventricles until she hopefully receives a transplant.
Couple’s daughter Isabel was stillborn
Her parents first spoke to the Sunderland Echo in the summer to urge Wearside people to start talking more about the sensitive topic of donating a child’s organs.
It is vital that the discussion happens now because it is too upsetting for a parent to consider when they have just lost a child, they say.
Terry and Cheryl know only too well what losing a child is like.
Now Beatrix is waiting for a heart herself.
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “More than 6,800 people in the UK are waiting for an organ transplant – and over 220 of these patients are children.
At a time of giving, let people know you want to save lives.”
“Please tell your family about your decision so that they know what you want.”
Join the NHS Organ Donor Register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.