Baby given just two minutes to live defies the odds and inspires Northampton mum’s skydive challenge

Kelis Broomes, who is now 10 months old, was born with organ failure
Kelis Broomes, who is now 10 months old, was born with organ failure

A Northampton mother whose daughter defied the odds after she was given just minutes to live is taking on a daring challenge for the hospice that cared for her.

Kelis Broomes, who is now 10 months old, was born with organ failure and had lost two thirds of her blood. Medics told her parents, Helen and David, that she would be severely brain damaged.

Kelis Broomes

Kelis Broomes

Within hours after her birth Kelis was transferred from Northampton General Hospital to Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre where she underwent two blood transfusions. It was there her parents received the devastating news that without the aid of a life support machine, Kelis would not survive for longer than two minutes.

“Our world just fell apart,” said Helen. “When we expected her to only have two minutes to live, we were just frantic. We were trying to take photos of her without her tubes and cuddle her and spend time with her. We also had to explain it all to our son, Curtis, who was six at the time. We were all crying not knowing what was happening.”

But Kelis refused to give up the fight and despite being disconnected from her life support machine, she continued to breathe.

Helen said: “We prepared to say goodbye and the minutes started passing and then the hours. We kept looking at the clock but even though she was still breathing, she looked like she was dying, she just looked so poorly.”

Kelis gained strength and when she was six days old, Helen and David were given the options of remaining in hospital or staying at Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People – the only hospice to care for children from across the East Midlands with life-limiting and terminal illnesses.

“We thought she would be going to Rainbows for end of life care but she went from strength to strength,” said Helen. “It took me a while to get it in my head that she wasn’t dying. We were so upset but everything at Rainbows was so happy. Rainbows was wonderful for us and this is why I want to support them. What should have been an extremely sad time spent at Rainbows was in fact a very happy and special time for us and anyone that visited. This was due to the amazing staff and the facilities available.”

To show her thanks for Rainbows, which is based in Loughborough, Helen will be taking to the skies on June 22 at Langar Airfield. Helen is aiming to complete a 10,000ft skydive and hopes to raise around £350 for Rainbows.

She added: “I have always wanted to do a skydive but I have never had a purpose. Now I do. Rainbows was so significant in our lives, I know there will be a lot of support for me. I would also challenge other daredevils to sign up.”

Currently Kelis is under the care of a paediatrician and also has physiotherapy every three weeks. The family has not been given a prognosis and do not know what the future holds for their daughter.

“When Kelis was born, we were told she would die or be so severely disabled that she wouldn’t understand anything,” said Helen. “But she is so happy, a true inspiration to others. She is slightly behind in her milestones but that is nothing in comparison to what could of been. Kelis is such a beautiful miracle that has touched many people’s hearts with her strength and her never ending smile.”

To sponsor Helen, visit To get involved, visit, email or call 0800 9521133.