Blyth family's fight to help baby girl who suffered cardiac arrest
Carly Brown had gone to check on her daughter Summer Rae Collier after putting her down for a nap but found the 17-month-old struggling to breathe.
The youngster, who had been born at 34 weeks with her twin brother Dillan in March last year, had suffered from chest problems, experiencing coughing and wheezing.
But on July 17 at their Blyth home, she suffered a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing for 22 minutes with Carly carrying out CPR while waiting for an ambulance.
Summer’s brain was starved of oxygen and doctors fear she has been left severely disabled as a result of the heartbreaking incident.
But mum-of-three Carly and dad Ryan Collier refuse to give up and have begun fundraising to help their daughter.
Carly said: “I had put Summer down for a nap but when I went back to check on her it was so traumatic. It looked like she was struggling to breathe and unconscious. I started screaming for my friend to call an ambulance.
"We carried her downstairs and did everything the ambulance handler told us to do.
"I knew this was getting very serious and threatening her life, then she breathed in and stopped breathing.
"My body wanted to panic but my brain knew what to do. It was like I was on autopilot. I gave her CPR.
"I did it for what felt like forever but I knew I couldn’t stop until someone took over. I was still trying to do it when the paramedics took over.
“When the paramedics were working on her outside the house on the way to the ambulance, I collapsed.
“I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It was the most terrifying experience I’ve ever been through.
"I thought we’d get to the hospital at Cramlington and she’d be declared dead.
"In my head I was envisioning her funeral and I thought I can’t bury my daughter so soon after my mother.
"I ran to the ambulance and they said she was breathing and they had a heartbeat.”
Summer was put on life support and her parents were warned they could lose her in the first 24 hours, while doctors also said they may have to amputate her left leg below the knee as she had a massive blood clot.
After 12 days on hospital, she started to breathe on her own and eventually taken off the ventilator.
Carly said: “I refuse to believe she will stay like this. I can see she has so much about her. I can see in her eyes she is fighting this
"I have to do everything I can to get her the best future.
“Summer was nearly walking, she was talking and was the boss. She bossed everyone around in the house.
"She was a little diva that’s why it’s so hard to see her like this. She is still showing signs of being a little diva.”
Carly and Ryan have looked into treatment options for Summer, including taking her to America but due to travel restrictions and getting visas they have paused those plans.
Instead, they have hired a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber to give her treatment at home – involving breathing pure oxygen in a pressurised environment.
They have hired the chamber for three months, with the first treatment taking place on Monday, liaising with an American doctor via Zoom.
Carly said: “If she is showing signs of improvement then that’s when I will look to take her to a rehabilitation centre in Switzerland. That’s why we’re fundraising.
"I can’t put a price on the best recovery she can get. I refuse to believe this is how she will be. She was the funniest little girl ever.”
Life for the family has changed for now.
Carly said: “Dillan misses Summer, it’s a twin thing. There is that special bond. Summer was the dominant one but he has come into his own.
“Gracie-Lee is at that age when she needs her mum.
"I’m trying to split myself into about five places. I want to be there for Gracie-Lee and Dillan but I need to be at the hospital with Summer.
"I try my best and have got a great support team around me. Ryan’s family have been amazing and I couldn’t have done this without them.”
Carly is also urging people to ensure they have CPR training to help them in any similar situations.
Carly, who used to work as cabin crew for 15 years and underwent CPR courses every year, added: “I’d urge people to get CPR training, it’s really important, especially for parents.
"I wouldn’t have a clue what to do otherwise.”
A fundraiser is taking place on Friday, September 24, at Blyth Comrades Club. The venue has been provided for free, with businesses, organisations and residents providing a number of prizes for a raffle.
Tickets are £5 each with all proceeds going to the fundraising.
However, they are in need of a DJ for the night. Anyone who wants to get involved should contact Carly Brown on Facebook.
An online fundraiser to help the family has so far raised more than £13,600.
Anyone who wants to make a donation should visit https://uk.gofundme.com/f/Pray-for-Summer-Rae