Published on 4 May 2021
When nine-year-old Reegan Price had to dress up as a hero for school, she knew exactly who she wanted to be.
Rather than Supergirl or Wonder Woman, she wanted to be a nurse – in honour of the NHS heroes who saved her dad Kelsey’s life.
And while they may not have superpowers of flight or the ability to turn invisible, Reegan’s heroes save lives every single day.
Mum Samie Wood, from Canterbury, said: “Reegan was worried her friends wouldn’t get why she was wearing a nurse’s uniform when they were all dressed as cartoon characters.
“But I said to her all those cartoons together have saved zero people’s lives and one nurse alone has saved many – including her daddy’s.
“Our NHS heroes beat cartoon heroes any day.”
Kelsey, who is 32, fell ill last year with non-Covid related pneumonia in June, October and December. As he was recovering from the last bout, he noticed his leg had started swelling and was painful.
His worried family persuaded him to go to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, where staff discovered he had a blood clot in his leg, and another in his lung.
Samie said: “He was transferred to the Kent and Canterbury Hospital at 7pm and by 8pm he was in surgery.
“The clot in his leg was 14cm, it was absolutely huge. If it had moved, it could have ended up in his brain and he might have died.
“Kelsey was terrified and we were all so worried. We couldn’t visit because of the coronavirus pandemic and Reegan was so brave the whole time.”
Kelsey was cared for in intensive care and needed a second operation before he was well enough to be moved to Clarke ward. Almost four months on he is still suffering after-effects, including a loss of feeling in his foot, and he needs ongoing treatment.
He said: “The nurses, the doctors, the surgeons, the paramedics, the porters, the admin staff, all of them are real life superheroes and our little family are forever thankful and grateful for them.
“The staff in intensive care were by my side 24 hours a day, they never left me alone. When I went to Clarke ward they kept checking on me and one of the nurses even said a prayer. It was really sweet.
“The NHS saved my life a few years ago when I had a twisted bowel and needed emergency surgery at the QEQM.
“We’ve all heard about how great NHS staff are this year but our family has known it for ages. We couldn’t be any more grateful.”
Samie praised the teams for taking the time to reassure her and keep her updated on Kelsey’s condition.
She said: “I called in a complete panic on the first day and they were able to talk to him and it calmed Reegan down knowing he was okay.
“They told me there was no such thing as calling too often, and they were always happy to explain things.
“Even though they were so busy they took the time to update us when he was moved.
“Kelsey didn’t want to go to hospital as he was terrified of having Covid on top of the pneumonia but when he got there they made him feel so safe and they couldn’t have looked after him better.”