Toddlers who battled illness raise £1k for charity

Two brave toddlers from the same village in the remote Shetland Islands, whose lives were saved in separate incidents, have fought back and raised over £1,000 for charity.

Rocco and Neve and raised more than 1,000 for charity
Rocco and Neve and raised more than 1,000 for charity
Rocco and Neve and raised more than 1,000 for charity

The efforts of three-year-old Neve Halcrow, and two-year-old Rocco Drakeford – along with their proud parents – came just months after they were whisked away to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh for life-saving treatment.

Despite living so close to each other, they were rushed to hospital in separate cases in January and February, each having difficulty breathing.

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After being seen by staff at the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, some eight miles from their home village of Cunningsburgh, they were flown down to the capital and needed ventilators to help them recover.

Neve’s mum Kirsti Moncrieff said her daughter suffered such severe croup that her airway closed up and doctors had to put a tube down her throat to help her breath.

The youngster spent six days on a ventilator and was given steroids to reduce the swelling of her airway.

Kirsti said: “It doesn’t even seem real. It feels like a bad dream, I can hardly believe it happened.”

Neve was heavily sedated and spent another five or six days on a separate ward in Edinburgh recovering.

The mum added: “It turned out to be the flu, although she had been vaccinated. It just goes to show how severe the flu virus can be in an otherwise healthy toddler.”

Neve had been admitted to the Gilbert Bain with febrile convulsion, a fit or seizure caused by a fever, and despite seeming okay during the night, she rapidly deteriorated.

Kirsti said: “I always do wonder if we weren’t in hospital how things could have been different. I don’t know how quickly we would have got her to hospital.

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“The [staff at] the Gilbert Bain acted immediately and they were brilliant,” said Kirsti, who also praised consultant anaesthetist Catriona Barr at the Lerwick hospital.

Meanwhile, Rocco’s mum Dhanika Moar said her son had two respiratory viruses and norovirus and spent 12 days in intensive care in Edinburgh before another eight days on another ward.

Rocco was admitted to the Gilbert Bain suffering from bronchiolitis and had to be resuscitated by doctors before being flown south.

Dhanika said: “I don’t think we realised how ill he was until we got to Edinburgh, until we got to the intensive care unit.”

“It was all very quick. You obviously hear about these things happening to other people but you never think your child is going to be as ill as that.”

Both children have since recovered and Dhanika and Kirsti praised the hard work of staff at the Gilbert Bain and in the medical team in Edinburgh.

During their stay in the Scottish capital, they stayed in specially provided accommodation for parents and families of patients at the children’s hospital.

As a thank you, Neve and Rocco – with the help of their families – held Sunday teas and a car boot sale at Cunningsburgh hall.

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Kirsti’s partner Alexander Halcrow who works as a rigger at SBS at Sullom Voe, sold fancies at his work.

In total they raised £1,185 for the Edinburgh Sick Kids Friends Foundation which helps provide the accommodation for visiting families.

Kirsti said: “Without the flat that they provided we would’ve been really stuck and it’s nice to know that’s all arranged.”