Northern Ireland news

Co Down boy (6) knocked down by motorbike backs Air Ambulance campaign

Cillian Rogers from Newtownards

A Co Down boy knocked down by a motorbike when he was four has joined a campaign to encourage young people to support the Air Ambulance service.

Cillian Rogers from Newtownards (6) was out playing close to his grandparents' house when the collision happened in April last year.

He suffered a brain injury, incurring several bleeds on the brain, a blood clot as well as a fractured skull and femur.

The Helicopter Emergency Medical Service team arrived at the scene and worked with paramedics to carry out critical care interventions before transporting Cillian to hospital.

The little boy spent nine days in intensive care at the Royal Victoria Hospital, including six days in an induced coma.

More than a year on and Cillian has made an amazing recovery and been able to return to school part-time.

His mother, Courtney McCoubrey-Rogers, said: "I remember Cillian being in the coma and begging him to wake up, that it wouldn't matter what we had to face just as long as we could cuddle him one more time.

"Thankfully because of Air Ambulance Northern Ireland we have the chance to do that every day."

Now Cillian and his family want to give something back to the Air Ambulance charity and have helped launch a membership programme for children and young people to encourage support for the service in a bid to ensure the helicopter can keep flying.

Junior Club AANI members receive a pack with information and branded items to suit their age range, from a teddy bear to a gold helicopter pin-badge, along with updates and activities.

Ms McCoubrey-Rogers appealed for the public to support the service.

"The Air Ambulance saved Cillian's life - please help them keep making miracles,"she said.

"By signing your child up as a Junior Club member, you can help them continue to get to seriously ill and injured patients across Northern Ireland needing critical pre-hospital care, plus they'll also get a fantastic pack in the post to keep them entertained."

Charity representative Colleen Milligan said: "During the early stages of the pandemic, we noticed that the levels of support out there from the younger members of our community dramatically increased and it really gave the team such a lift to see how creative and motivated young people were to support Air Ambulance NI.

"We already have our Club AANI member programme for adults and we wanted to really embrace that interest in the service from our younger supporters and by creating a membership programme for them to be a part of.

"We hope the service will inspire them as much as they inspire us."

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