A NINE-YEAR-OLD who ended up in intensive care in Finland after falling ill on a festive family holiday that turned “truly awful” is hoping to fly back home to South Yorkshire today — after a fundraising campaign more than doubled its target.
Courtney Walker was enjoying the winter wonderland getaway in Lapland with sister Caprianha (12) and mum Michelle, an A&E nurse at Rotherham Hospital.
But while on the festive break, the nine-year-old fell unconscious and was rushed to the nearest hospital — three hours away from where she was staying — and diagnosed with diabetes.
Ellesha Curry, a fellow nurse and former colleague of Michelle’s, set up the GoFundMe campaign on Friday, to help pay for the family’s longer stay, medical bills and return flights.
She started with a target of £1,000, but by the end of the weekend it had more than doubled — topping £2,100.
The 25-year-old said: “Michelle works tirelessly as a nurse and had finally got her first holiday abroad with the kids in years.
“Due to this being a new diagnosis, Courtney was on the intensive care unit being treated for diabetic ketoacidosis. She was very, very unwell and quite unstable. Michelle was only allowed to visit for a fraction of the day and was staying in a local hotel with her other daughter.
“Michelle was beside herself with worry about Courtney’s state and wanted to get Courtney home as soon as possible but needed to focus on her getting better.”
With Courtney’s health improving, the family are hoping to fly back to the UK tomorrow once Covid tests and protocols have been carried out.
Ellesha said: “They are planning on coming back on Tuesday. Courtney’s been doing well. She’s awake and sat up and able to communicate now.
“Michelle couldn’t be more thrilled that she’s feeling better and they’ll be able to get home into a safe and reliable environment they’re used to.
“There’s nothing worse than a child falling ill abroad and having minimal resources there — they had to travel three hours to the closest hospital when they were in Lapland.
“It’s truly been an awful holiday for them.”
Visit https://bit.ly/3DvZGQe to donate to the appeal.