A TODDLER from Abersychan has become the face of a new campaign by Wales Air Ambulance to provide around-the-clock emergency care.

Ellie Harris fell ill suddenly one evening in February 2019, suffering seizures and two cardiac arrests.

Her parents called 999 right away but, because of the time of day, there was no air ambulance available to take Ellie to hospital.

Fortunately, paramedics and a critical care team arrived in time. Ellie – now two years old – is thriving.

But the Wales Air Ambulance charity (WAA) wants to ensure that, in future, they can reach every child in Wales – regardless of the time of day.

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The charity's helicopters are currently in service 8am-8pm, seven days a week. With the help of public fundraising and donations, it wants to extend the service to 24 hours a day.

“This is a huge step forward for the service, but one we are confident we can achieve with the support of the Welsh public,” WAA boss Angela Hughes said.

The new 24/7 service will include more response units on the ground, as well as in the air.

To deal with out-of-hours demand, WAA has already helped set up a Wales-wide 'Welsh Flying Medics' (EMRTS Wales) service.

The medics have been using a rapid-response 'Twilight Car' to reach critical care patients on weekends, between 2pm and 2am, for the past two winters.

It was these medics who, along with paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service, treated Ellie at her Abersychan home last year.

Dr Dindi Gill was one of the medics involved. He said: “Ellie was extremely unwell and unconscious on our arrival.

"The presence of the Twilight Car meant that we were able to rapidly deliver critical care interventions, including an anaesthetic, to improve her oxygen levels and then take her directly to the specialist care she needed.

"This gave her the best possible chance of survival and recovery.”

At hospital, Ellie was diagnosed with a rare but serious condition called Brugada Syndrome, which causes the heart to beat dangerously fast.

After her diagnosis, WAA was called in to airlift Ellie to Bristol for specialist treatment.

Her father, Matt, said the speed with which Ellie received her emergency treatment "undoubtedly saved her life".

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that without Wales Air Ambulance, Ellie may not be here today," he added. "I cannot begin to thank the medics for everything that they did for our little girl.

"Ellie is able to do things that any two-year-old can do, thanks to the amazing efforts of the medics.”

WAA currently has to raise £6.5 million each year for running costs, but estimates it will cost at least a further £1.5 million to extend its service to 24 hours a day.

"Without the support of the Welsh public, we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today," Ms Hughes said of the new campaign. "Whether you’re an individual who wants to run a half marathon for us, 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."