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‘Care second to none’ says mum of children’s author and former patient

29 April 2016
A children’s author who was successfully treated at CUH 20 years ago following a head injury has returned to Addenbrooke’s to launch her new book which is raising funds for the Trust’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

"I am eternally grateful for Addenbrooke's hospital, for the doctors, nurses, and my family for pulling me through the hardest time of my life."

At the age of just 11, Gracie Wright was walking across the A12 when she was hit by a car and landed on her head, sustaining a traumatic brain injury.

After being rushed her local hospital, she was then transferred to CUH where she was in a coma for four days. The incident led to the loss of all her childhood memories up until that point. It has taken her years to recover and retrain her brain to retain information correctly.

Gracie read from her new book Tea with Bea to some of the young patients on ward D2. She said: "The reason for coming to Addenbrooke's is because, from my own experience, I want to give parents hope and children hope, particularly those children with brain injury.

"It felt very emotional coming back to Addenbrooke's today, especially because my mum is here with me. It is very special meeting children and their parents – I wish I could make them better."

Gracie, who lives in Southwold, said that she remembers finger-painting when she was in hospital 20 years ago.

"I am eternally grateful for Addenbrooke's hospital, for the doctors, nurses, and my family for pulling me through the hardest time of my life."

Gracie's mum Nikki, who was with her at the book launch, said: "The care Gracie received in ICU at Addenbrooke's, was second to none. We can't speak highly enough of the nursing staff and doctors who looked after Gracie and us as a family at a traumatic time. Our deepest thanks go to the hospital.

"It has been wonderful to see Gracie realise a dream and be able to give something back years later through creativity, which she hopes to inspire in other children too."

Kat Collen, play specialist at CUH, said: "It was lovely having Gracie reading to the children. This kind of activity is really important for the children's emotional wellbeing and self-esteem.

"It is a familiar activity in an unfamiliar setting and that makes their experience in hospital more positive and is valuable in helping them to recover more quickly."

Nicky Newton, community fundraising manager for Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust, added: "We would like to thank Gracie for choosing the Intensive Care Unit. The work the clinical staff carry out on a daily basis throughout the whole hospital is remarkable and we are always grateful when past patients choose to support us in such a tangible way."