Mother of two Emma Gale hugs her twin sons and says a heartfelt “thank you” to the air ambulance service which she believes saved her life.
Joshua and Zachary are running around the garden at the family home in Bridport unaware that without Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance their father, Mark, might now be bringing them up alone.
Mrs Gale is telling her story to raise awareness of the vital service, and its need for financial support, during this week’s National Air Ambulance Week.
On September 23 last year she had a severe asthma attack while suffering from influenza. Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance flew her to Dorset County Hospital, Dorchester, where she was given a 30 per cent chance of survival.
Mrs Gale said: “I had been feeling unwell with flu for about ten days. I was hoping that it would go away and was trying to stay strong because of the twins, however I started feeling a lot worse. I was finding that I had to use my nebuliser every 30 minutes or so. I made and appointment to see the doctor the following day.”
Her best friend drove her to the surgery, but throughout the journey Mrs Gale’s condition worsened. Her GP put her on an oxygen nebuliser and called an ambulance.
Despite paramedics’ efforts as the ambulance headed for Dorchester, nothing seemed to help. “I was started struggling to breathe,” she recalls.
The ambulance drove to Beaminster Primary School and a rendezvous with the air ambulance. During the five-minute flight to the hospital the crew continued to try to get air into her lungs, and talked to her to reassure her.
Mrs Gale says: “All I could think about was my two twin boys and the fact that I might not see them again.”
At the hospital she was put on a machine to push oxygen into her lungs, was kept in intensive care for some time and spent a total of 12 days in hospital. She says: “I am so grateful to the air ambulance and the ambulance service, because I believe they saved my life. If it had not been for them, I might not be here today with my gorgeous boys and wonderful husband.
“I will never be able to repay them for what they did but I hope to be able to get involved with some fundraising soon as I know they need every penny that people can spare.”
Formula One racing driver Jenson Button has been a vice-patron of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance since its formation in 2000. He said: “I was born in Frome, a rural part of the county serviced by the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, and I regularly saw first-hand its importance to the local community.
“National Air Ambulance Week gives you the opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the work of your local air ambulance. The charity and its crew depend on your fundraising to help them raise the £1.5 million a year it costs to keep the helicopter flying.”
To get involved. visit dsairambulance.org.uk.