More than £15K raised for family hit by daughters' hospital crises

Little Evelyn suffered devastating effects after contracting Covid.

Little Evelyn suffered devastating effects after contracting Covid. - Credit: Kay Doherty

"We can breathe." Three simple words which summed up the overwhelming gratitude expressed by a St Albans family going through a heartwrenching personal tragedy.

Kayleigh Doherty and partner Sam, who live in Bernards Heath, have been through a month of hell when both their daughters ended up needing emergency hospital treatment after their family contracted Covid.

Despite their best efforts three-month-old premature baby Evelyn, began to show symptoms, and deteriorated fast.

After a paramedic assessment they made the decision to drive her to Lister Hospital, where she began having seizures and was sedated and placed on a ventilator.

A team from Great Ormond Street Hospital rushed to help and spent two hours stabilising Evelyn, before driving them to a specialist intensive care team at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

Kay explained: "After three of the most horrific and tortuous days of our lives, Evelyn was extubated and breathing independently. We thought we could breathe a sigh of relief…but little did we know that the worst was yet to come.

Khloe underwent an eight hour operation after sinus infection entered the cavity around her brain.

Khloe underwent an eight hour operation after sinus infection entered the cavity around her brain. - Credit: Kay Doherty

"My 11 year old daughter, Khloe, had also been Covid-symptomatic but returned a negative PCR. The day after Evelyn was removed from her ventilator, Khloe’s eye suddenly swelled shut and we brought her to A&E after advice from 111."

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A CT scan showed that the sinus infection had entered the cavity around her brain and she was in severe danger, so she was blue lighted to Addenbrookes and underwent an eight hour operation with world class surgeons from Neurology, ENT, Ophthalmology and Paediatric all working on her.

"Having two children in intensive care with unrelated issues is unfathomable. We naively thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse…

"At 12am on December 21 baby Evelyn's hospital monitor sounded. We jumped up to find that she wasn’t breathing, was stiff and was deathly pale. As my partner picked her up, she flatlined.

"Thanks to the efforts of an incredibly fast medical team, Evelyn was brought back with CPR in just under three minutes. We lost her a further three times throughout the night. The sound of the emergency alarms ringing throughout the hospital corridors over and over again will never leave us."

Evelyn remains in hospital, but Khloe was discharged on Christmas Eve. She now faces up to 12 weeks of daily IV antibiotics at Lister Hospital through a new PICC line installed in her arm.

"Juggling two children between two hospitals each day is not without its challenges both emotionally and physically.

"Due to our need to be with the girls, we had to close our online business down over the busiest season of the year and have been unable to take any wages. This, coupled with the huge expenses we’re incurring daily, has made a tough situation even harder to bear."

Kay reached out to Karen Snook, founder of Facebook group St Albans Mums, begging for help.

"We’ve always been too proud to ask for help, but right now we’re sinking further and further into a financial abyss as our daily costs have taken all of our savings - parking at two hospitals, 130 miles of driving, simple food to keep us going. The nightly panic of working out how we’ll afford the next days expenses is unbearable."

The response from SAMs members was overwhelming with more than £15,000 raised in a matter of days, to which Kay responded: "I’m absolutely blown away by the response and have spent the last 24 hours in a state of sheer, speechless disbelief and a never ending flow of grateful tears.

"Because of you… we can now afford the £200 a week worth of diesel we’ve had to pay to go between both girls.

"Because of you... we can grab a quick lunch between hospital appointments without questioning whether our hunger is more important than our overdraft.

"Because of you... we can buy the girls some new clothes, we can pay for some private therapy sessions for Khloe, who unfortunately saw her little sister being resuscitated, we can pay a huge chunk off of months and months worth of unpaid bills, we can fill up our fridge for the first time in goodness knows how long.

"Khloe still has nine weeks of daily IV antibiotics to get through, and sweet little Evelyn is facing a life full of many, many hospital admissions. We’re struggling to come to terms with that… but our girls are both still alive and that’s the ultimate gift.

"Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts."

To support Kay and Sam, visit