Lucy Ellis was a 16-year-old gymnast and school leaver from Bassaleg, Newport, whose aspirations of becoming a doctor were cut short when she died of sepsis on May 15th this year. Now, her family are trying to raise money for equipment and a team of specialists who can operate the equipment, both of which aren’t currently available in Wales, to make a difference for people in their daughter’s position.
The student visited her local GP with complaints of breathing difficulties and flu-like symptoms, so she had immediately admitted her to Royal Gwent Hospital.
After being admitted, she received multiple antibiotics, blood tests, x-rays and scans, they showed fluid around her heart. Specialist equipment, a blood machine called ECMO, was being transported from a London hospital, which would’ve been her last hope, but by the time it arrived, it was too late.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that is caused by the body’s reaction to infection, causing injury to its own tissues and organs. Symptoms are like those of a flu or fever, with a high temperature, chills, a fast heartbeat and difficulty breathing.
The condition is typically treatable, but if it’s not caught early, it can cause organ failure or death. Sepsis cases are on the rise, but death rates in Wales are decreasing due to further awareness of the condition being raised.
However, in severe cases like Lucy’s, the specialist blood equipment can be the difference between life or death. Despite the ECMO machine being manufactured in Swansea, patients in Wales receive treatment at Glenfield, Leicester, one of only four of these centres for adults in the UK.
Lucy’s family have set up the Lucy Ellis foundation, first to raise awareness of Sepsis. The condition takes over 44,000 lives a year in the UK; more than prostate, bowel and breast cancer and AIDS combined. And only 50% of people have heard of the condition.
Secondly, the foundation will also raise money for underprivileged children that cannot afford to fulfil their dream of becoming successful athletes, covering costs from travel to equipment to tuition fees, to help others have the same dreams as Lucy.
Ultimately, Lucy’s family are raising money for ECMO equipment, and the team of specialists needed to operate the equipment in Wales, as the machine is proven to save lives in these cases. However, the crucial wait for the equipment to be transported from outside of Wales can be the difference between life or death.
Lucy was a special girl that touched many people’s lives in her short life. She told her family that she wanted to leave this world having made a difference; little did her family know this difference would be in her death.
Here at Local Link, we were very touched by Lucy’s story, and we hope that through this article, you will be too. Every donation counts to raise the money for the equipment and the team of specialists to help people like Lucy. You can read more about Lucy’s story and donate to her foundation here