Louise Cade has raised over £2,000 for the Magpas Air Ambulance, the emergency service that helped save her life 23 years ago.
Louise (32), whose family farm along New Cut and English Road, completed a sky-dive on Saturday, conquering her fear of flying to make the charity jump.
Louise and her sister Sally were both pupils at the Duke of Bedford School in 1994. They were coming home on the school bus, on what had been just another normal school day. Six-year-old Sally and eight-year-old Louise got off the bus on New Cut and waited for it to pull away. They held hands, looked both ways and were crossing the road when a car – seemingly out of nowhere – collided with them at high speed.
“My mum got to us as soon as she could,” said Louise. “My sister Sally and I were lying in the road. My mother says Sally was smiling at her, whilst I was unconscious.”
Back in the 1990s, doctors from around the Eastern Region volunteered their own time with Magpas and as result; Dr Simon Richards, Dr Andrew Knights and Dr Nick Jackson (who all worked at Thorney Medical Practice) were called out to try to help Sally and Louise.
Sally was first to be taken to hospital in an ambulance (with a police escort), shortly followed by Louise, with Magpas Doctors on board both vehicles. Sally and Louise died several times en route, but the Magpas doctors repeatedly brought them back to life.
Once at the hospital, Sally and Louise were next to each other in the ICU being treated. Louise explains, “Sally was on a ventilator but sadly died from head trauma and organ failure two days later.”
Louise suffered a collapsed lung, a serious head injury and multiple broken bones, as well as a stroke. She says: “My family tells me I died several times and was not expected to survive. The last time I died, everyone thought I had gone when suddenly I came back – gasping for air, trying to rip the ventilator tubes out of me.”
Louise has lost most of her memory of what life was like before the accident. She explains, “It’s really upsetting I can’t remember much about Sally, who was my best friend and I miss dearly – but the motivation, determination and strength to live on has made me the person I am today.”
Louise, now works as payroll manager for Elliott, and feels ready to talk about that horrific day for the first time. She wants the memory of her sister Sally to live on and to raise awareness for Magpas who came to her rescue all those years ago.
She did an assembly on road safety and the work of Magpas at the Duke of Bedford School back in April and the jump took place last weekend.
“I want the children to take on the message of road safety and stay safe. I hope the children take this on board and tell their parents – so that they can be more aware of children on the road. I know that we looked left and right, but we didn’t see the car. I told the children to look again and keep looking and listening.”
The sky-dive took place at Sibson and should have been quite an ordeal for someone who has a fear of flying. “I am actually terrified of flying,” said Louise, “but I was determined to do it. The sad thing is I have no memories from before the accident and I can’t remember my sister, who was my best friend. In the plane, getting ready to jump, I thought about her and that gave me the courage to do it.
“Once we were outside, the adrenaline kicked in and it was fantastic. The views were amazing.
“I am now thinking about what I might do next year to try to raise more money for Magpas and we’re wondering about wing-walking!”
Louise is hoping to raise more than £2,000 to help keep the Magpas service running and she’s had a great response from the village. Her fundraising page can be seen at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JumpingwithSally and it will stay open for another three months. For people who don’t have internet access, there are collection boxes at The Lovely Little Tearoom and Thorney Medical Practice and cheques payable to “Magpas Air Ambulance” can also be dropped off there.
You can see a video of Louise’s jump at: https://youtu.be/y-p-3-ducqs