A five-year-old girl who survived a horrendous road accident has met up with and thanked the air ambulance crew that helped to save her life.
Darcy Cook and her mum met the East Anglian Air Ambulance crew at their Cambridge Airport base on Tuesday in an emotional reunion that came just over six months after the near-fatal accident in Bury St Edmunds.
The ambulance service offered Darcy and her family the chance to visit the crew and see the facilities and to find out for themselves just how well the five-year-old is coming along now.
Darcy’s mum, Steph Cook, who lives with her daughter in Studlands Park, Newmarket, said: “I think it’s nice for them (the ambulance crew) to see such a positive outcome from something that was obviously very traumatic.
“I think for them and for Darcy it’s really important to be able to do that as it is for me to be able to say thank you for all that they have done really, although thank you is never enough really in a situation like this.”
Along with her dad, Matthew Cook, Darcy was travelling in a BMW along Parkway in Bury St Edmunds on August 4 when the car veered across the road unexpectedly and collided with a lorry.
Both suffered life-threatening head injuries but thanks to the work of initially a Community First Responder who pulled Darcy from the car (her dad had to be cut free by firefighters) and then the air ambulance team, they were airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and both subsequently survived.
Darcy’s dad, Steph’s ex-partner, is still in a live-in rehabilitation centre in Norwich where he remains, she explained ‘totally dependent on others to do all of his care for him’, but the 38-year-old is now speaking again as he recovers from his injuries.
For Darcy, the road back to recovery has also been a long one.
She suffered severe head injuries, a fractured pelvis and a broken femur in the collision, which left her and her dad in a critical condition.
As a result of the accident Darcy now has a steel plate in her head and had to have reconstructive surgery to one side of her face.
Because of the injury to her brain, she has had to learn to walk, talk and eat again.
Darcy, who attends All Saints’ Primary School, in Newmarket, also had a cardiac arrest at the scene of the accident and had to undergo a seven-hour operation on her brain.
She spent 12 weeks in hospital, initially in intensive care before being moved to the high dependency ward and then to the children’s ward.
While Darcy was in the hospital, Steph and her parents were by her side throughout and were able to stay in family accommodation at Acorn House provided by the Sick Children’s Trust.
After being released from hospital ,Darcy had to undergo intensive physio and speech therapy at the Sunflowers specialist unit in Cottenham for 12 weeks.
Despite the gravity of her situation after the accident Darcy has been making great progress and is now back at her school.
Steph said: “After that we were gradually able to return Darcy back to school.
“As of now she is back full-time but even now she still has intensive physio and speech therapy and she has to wear a leg brace and splints and bits like that, but from where we were in the summer she has done absolutely amazingly.
“To think where she is now. Like they said to me when I’ve taken her back for different appointments, they can’t believe how well she has done and when they see her walking into her appointments they said they could never have imagined her being able to do that.
“She is back at school, but she has got a teaching assistant with her full-time now.
“There may be things maybe later in life that she may have to deal with, but apart from that she has been walking and running and playing.
“She is a happy little girl, we will just have to see how she goes.”