"There's no way to put into words what you're feeling. It's fear, it's worry, it's the fear of the unknown and not knowing what's happening to my child."

Matthew Harris was confronted with any parent's nightmare. His 13-month-old daughter Ellie started having seizures before suffering a cardiac arrest, the first of two in quick succession.

She could not breathe and needed help quickly. The severity of her condition meant a conventional ambulance was not going to get her to hospital fast enough so an Air Ambulance was her best hope of a good outcome.

She was playing, all of a sudden she just dropped and stopped breathing. Went blue, pale, grey, so we called the ambulance service obviously and it was decided that she was too poorly to be just transferred to hospital so the Welsh Air Ambulance had to be called.

Matthew Harris
Credit: ITV News

Ellie was flown to Bristol where she was rushed for urgent surgery.

When we were in intensive care we were told she may never walk, she may never eat, she may be wheelchair bound, she may have severe cerebral palsy. But she's defied all the odds and thanks to the Wales Air Ambulance because if they hadn't have gotten there so quickly and reduced the damage that was caused to her brain, by paralysing her, then, yeah, we would be in a totally different situation.

Matthew Harris, Ellie's father
Credit: ITV News

Established on St David's Day 2001, the Welsh Air Ambulance has responded to over 30,000 missions in 19 years.

It's not currently a 24/7 service, currently operating 8am-8pm 365 days a year.

However, for many years the charity has been hoping to expand its capabilities overnight and become a fully round the clock service by the end of 2020.

To deliver our current service, we have to raise £6.5 million each year to ensure we can continue our lifesaving work.

WAA Chairman, David Gilbert OBE

The charity says any fundraising is a help to their efforts to keep the service running. "Whether you're an individual who wants to run a half marathon for us", says CEO Angela Hughes, "hold a charity concert, attend a bucket collection, volunteer at one of our shops or just help us spread the good word of Wales Air Ambulance, every single bit of support we are given will help us reach the next exciting chapter."

Credit: ITV News

Matthew and his family are now fundraising for the Welsh Air Ambulance charity as a way of saying thank you.

From our personal experience, we owe them our lives. because without Ellie, we wouldn't be able to live.

Matthew Harris
The Welsh Air Ambulance Service has three H145 Emergency Aircraft operating from bases in Llanelli, Welshpool, and Caernarfon Credit: ITV News

"We are working closely with our medical partners, known as the 'Welsh Flying Medics', who have been exploring the out-of-hours demand to inform the type of service needed overnight", says the charity's CEO Angela Hughes.

"The service will evolve through a phased approach, the details of which are still to be confirmed. An announcement about that will be made at a later date."

The new 24/7 service will include road as well as air capability. As a precursor to the introduction of a 24/7 service, the 'Welsh Flying Medics' have already taken to the road overnight in a Rapid Response Vehicle.

Last winter and this winter, the 'Twilight Critical Care Car' has run over weekends between 2pm and 2am. It was introduced to help the increased demand for emergency care in South Wales during the pressurised winter months and includes the same emergency department-standard care as the daytime service.

Ellie is now doing well after her severe brain injury but the family hope more funds can be raised to provide that vital 24 hour service.

They're angels that have rotors instead of wings. You know, from my point of view, they deserve all the credit, it deserves to be a funded.

Matthew Harris