Organ donation week: North East emergency vehicles turn pink in honour of County Durham toddler

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Emergency vehicles will be wrapped in pink throughout the North East to raise awareness about organ donation.

The campaign is being run in honour of two-year-old Beatrix Adamson-Archbold, from County Durham, who received a life-saving heart transplant earlier this year after spending 14 months in hospital.

It will run alongside the nationwide Organ Donation Week between 18 and 24 September which aims to encourage people to sign up to become organ donors.

Beatrix's parents Terry and Cheryl joined their daughter at the launch of the awareness campaign. They know more than most about the ins and outs of organ donation having donated daughter Isabel's organs for research when she was stillborn in 2018 before Beatrix developed dilated cardiomyopathy and required a transplant.

Mrs Archbold was prepared to donate Isabel's organs after reading an article in a magazine about parents in a similar position. She has been determined to raise awareness since stating her decision helped the grieving process.

"On our darkest days that's what carried me through thinking that could one day make a difference to somebody else," she explained. "So it might help save another child's life."

Her belief was further strengthened by her experiences with Beatrix in hospital. The toddler received a heart transplant in May after 14 months in hospital being supported by a machine known as a Berlin heart.

"Our time in hospital cast things in a different light," she said. "I dare say there isn't a single parent under that roof that wouldn't act as a donor because they know what families go through and they would do anything to stop another family going through the nightmare situation they are.

"I do think donor families are often missing. I would love to hear more stories about how it has helped them grieve and what it has given them having such an amazing legacy left behind.

"I feel proud that we may have made a difference with Isabel."

Emergency vehicles will be covered in pink vinyls in honour of two-year-old Beatrix Archbold-Adamson. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Mr Archbold, a sergeant at Durham Police, added that their experience with Isabel made them even more grateful to Beatrix's donor family.

"Because of our experience with Isabel we had had an insight into what happens at the other end," he explained. "Understanding the pain at the other end, it was an enormous feeling of thanks and appreciation.

"I'll never have the words to adequately describe the appreciation. I like to think we understand what that moment was like and I like to think the family at the other end can take comfort in knowing they have not just saved Bea but several other children at the same time.

"There is surely no greater gift or legacy for anybody to leave than to save several lives."

Mr Archbold thanked the police and the other emergency services for their support with the campaign after everything they have already done.

"It is enormous," he said. "It's fantastic to know we have the backing of the blue light family and their support.

"They have been second to none throughout this journey with their awareness raising.

"Emergency vehicles are prominent so what better way to get that seed of thought out in the public. It is greatly appreciated."

Beatrix Archbold-Adamson with her parents Terry and Cheryl. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

The campaign hopes to encourage more people to sign up for organ donation, particularly parents signing up their children to help others like Beatrix who are in the same situation.

Rachel Eason, specialist nurse in organ donation, said: "All of these vehicles are going to be seen all over the North East and being pink they are going to be really visible and will hopefully trigger people to consider organ donation.

"There are over 7,000 people waiting for an organ at the moment. Of those around 250 are children.

"The pool is very small for us to find donors. Anyone can sign up to the organ donor register and it does not matter how old they are.

"We just want people to sign up and make their decision known."

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