A Hampshire park operator has gifted £10,000 to children’s charity, Friends of PICU, which saved  an employee’s young daughter’s life. We find out more about this wonderful act of generosity…

In June 2018, Everlynn Hunt was rushed to A&E in Chichester’s St Richard’s Hospital after complaining of a severe ear infection for four days. After originally being turned away twice from their local hospital, further assessments at St Richard’s led to a diagnosis of bacterial meningitis, which was causing a devastating infection that was attacking her organs.

Mum, Sophia, who works for RoyaleLife, one of the UK’s leading park home providers for the over-45s, said if it wasn’t for the team at Southampton Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and the initial team at St Richard’s, Everlynn wouldn’t be here today.

Desperate times

Just 24 hours after arriving at A&E, Everlynn was put in a medically induced coma and transferred to Southampton PICU, where Sophia and husband Rob were advised that the next 48 hours were critical.

But she pulled through against the odds and, after nine days in hospital and an official diagnosis of viral meningitis caused by an abscess developed between the brain and skull caused by an ear infection, Everlynn was able to return home.

‘It was thanks to the care received by Southampton PICU that Everlynn is here with us today,’ said Sophia. ‘We can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for us.’

Sophia’s employer, RoyaleLife, also wanted to show their appreciation in the form of a £10,000 gift to the charity that supports Southampton PICU. CEO Robert Bull learned of the heroic story of Everlynn in July 2021 and wanted to offer a cash sum that would hopefully make a real difference to the charity.

Robert Bull said: ‘Supporting the community is of the upmost importance, so when we learned of Sophia and Everlynn’s story we didn’t hesitate to help.

‘Everlynn is an incredible little girl, and her bravery is inspirational.

‘We are grateful for Southampton PICU and the vital support they provided and hope that our donation can help continue change the lives of many children to come.’

‘Everlasting gratitude’

Sophia who lives in Emsworth, continued: ‘To express our everlasting gratitude towards them with such an incredible donation from RoyaleLife is beyond our wildest dreams. The money will help so many families for years to come.’

The generous donation will go towards the retrieval ambulances.

Providing an essential 24-hour service to critically ill children across the region, the ambulances are operated by a specialist retrieval team from within the PICU, consisting of a doctor/consultant, nurse and a critical care technologist/driver.

Critically ill

Friends of PICU, a registered charity, supports the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit which is the regional lead centre for critically ill children aged from newborn right up to 18-years-old. More than 1,000 children are admitted each year for specialist care by the skilled and dedicated team.

To learn more about RoyaleLife, please visit: www.royalelife.com. To find out more about Friends of PICU, please visit: https://www.friendsofpicu.org.uk.