Imagine the scene, it is a normal July day on holiday in Spain with the family, everybody is enjoying themselves having lunch and the weather is wonderful.
Sue & Jim Berry, Charlie's grandparents, have had a house in Spain for over 10 years and a trip to them each summer is the norm.
They have a pool at their house and the golden rule at the house is no non-swimmers go in the pool without armbands, rubber ring etc.
Charlie had shown great progress swimming with armbands and Ann-Marie, Charlie's Mother has made comments to that effect on Facebook about how he was enjoying himself swimming.
He had also learned to back away from the edge of the pool if he was near it without wearing swimming aids.
Sue's mother Barbara also lives at the house and Charlie had spent most mornings sat with her in her granny flat towards the back of the house, colouring in, doing puzzles, drawing & painting pictures.
Somehow he managed to find his way out of the back of the house and round to the pool without anybody noticing. The first that anybody knew about what had happened was when Ann-Marie stepped outside to read a book in the sun.
It was at this point that she found Charlie floating face down in the pool. She jumped into the pool while sounding the alarm and promptly pulled him out. While she gave Charlie mouth to mouth Tia, Charlie's 13 year old sister alerted Sue & Jim.
Charlie's body remained lifeless so they took him to the local Torrevieja hospital in the car. The doctors whisked Charlie away and after an agonising 30 minute wait were pleased to say that they had managed to rescusitate him and that he would be taken to the Hospital General Unversitario in Alicante, 80 kms away. Not knowing how long Charlie was in the water for, the doctors at Torrevieja placed Charlie in an induced coma in order to give his brain as much rest as possible and the greatest chance of recovery possible. The initial prognosis from the doctors, (although every case is different and nothing can be accurately forecast), was that Charlie had suffered considerable brain damage and it was unlikely that he would be able to walk or talk in the future.
Charlie's recovery has been very slow, and in minute increments but early signs are positive that he is doing well and battling to come back to his family. He is currently still in Intensive Care in Alicante but no longer in a coma. He shows signs of sensation when you tickle his feet and when Ann Marie enters the room and speaks to him the heart monitors register a rapid rise in his heart beat as he reacts to the sound of her voice.
As is common in many near-drowning accidents, Charlie lost his sight but the doctors have confirmed that there is now recognisable dilation of his pupils, he visibly appears to be looking at you and tracks the nurses fingers from left to right and up and down which is a huge milestone.
His current situation is stable, he has a tracheostomy tube in his throat to help him breath on his own and an intravenous food drip into one nostril but other than the heart and blood pressure monitors he is free of any other equipment. The hospital require a family member to be with Charlie at all times so Ann Marie and Susan are taking it in turns to stay with him for 48 hours at a time. The room Charlie is in has no family facilities as you might find in the UK, there is no bed, just a chair for whoever is there to sit in and Russell explained that the night times are particularly traumatic as the staff are in and out a lot without really explaining what they are doing.
The hospital staff have shown Russell, Ann Marie and Susan how to perform basic physio therapy for Charlie so that the muscles in his limbs don't waste away. This has proven to be the biggest test for the family so far as Charlie is quite clearly in much discomfort while they move his arms and legs. He appears to silently cry as they flex his limbs back and forth but they musn't stop. One of Charlies arms is locked across his chest in a permanent spasm and the doctors have placed a wad of bandage in his hand to stop him from digging his nails into his palm, so forceful is his constant grip.
The drive to the hospital is an hour and twenty minutes each way and to be able to do this every day is impossible as Jim is in his late 70's and the cost of fuel is more than they can afford. This pretty much brings us up to date with events and Charlie's recovery- We must now look ahead and concentrate on reuniting Charlie with his family here in the UK, most of which are centred in Chertsey- His Nan & Grandad on Ann Marie's side are here, most of his Aunts & Uncles, his Sisters and of course his Father. To repatriate Charlie will require a private chartered flight attended by a doctor and at least one supporting nurse. The initial figure discussed to make this happen is an incredible £18,750.
The latest development in this story is that Charlie's Grandma has re-mortgaged part of her house in Spain and is currently negotiating with the Spanish doctors and the NHS regarding when he can come home and where he will go when he gets here. The fundraising focus is now to pay that money back to Sue Berry so that her home is no longer in danger in Spain and to cover rehabilitation therapies for Charlie here in the UK that will not be covered under the NHS.
Thank You for visiting Charlie's page and taking the time to read his story. Any assistance you may be able to provide is gratefully received.