Girl, 5, walks to school for help after mum collapses

Poppy in her princess dress
Poppy loves princess dresses and Bluey [Family picture]

A five-year-old girl sat with her unconscious mother overnight before walking to school in her princess dress and wellies to get help.

Poppy Davies waited all night as her mother, Leisha Davies, lay on the floor of their home in Pontllanfriath near Blackwood, Caerphilly county, suffering from septic shock.

Poppy then walked to school and told her teachers “Mummy is on the floor and I can’t wake her up."

Leisha, who is still recovering from her life-threatening illness, said Poppy was her "little hero".

Poppy, Leisha and Ryan
Poppy sat with her mother all night and went for help in the morning [Family picture]

Leisha, 35, a mental health worker, said she had been feeling unwell for weeks after having an operation for a twisted bowel in October 2023.

On the morning of 18 January this year, she woke up feeling extremely tired and later that day, collapsed on the bedroom floor, with her husband Ryan at work.

"Poppy opened all the curtains and blinds in the house and put on all the lights to try and draw attention,” said Leisha.

"But when nobody came, she spent the night with me."

The next morning Poppy, still wearing the princess dress she’d been playing in before her mother collapsed, set off to get help, walking to her school, Pontllanfraith Primary, behind her house.

"She put her crown on and her wellies and she went out the house, she went through the school gates and got two of her teachers to come and help."

Those teachers called 999, as well as getting Poppy dressed in her uniform and taking her back to school so she was safe.

Poppy in her princess dress cuddling her mother in hospital
Poppy visited as Leisha spent nine weeks in hospital [Family picture]

The next few weeks would be a blur for Leisha, who was put in an induced coma, fighting for her life.

“I woke up in ITU and I couldn’t remember anything," she said.

"My hands and feet had turned black because of the medication they had to give me. I couldn’t move any of my body and I couldn’t speak because I had a tracheostomy."

Seeing Poppy again was emotional.

"I hadn’t seen her for about a month," said Leisha.

"I just cried and I was trying to say ‘I just can’t believe how big she has got’. I felt like I had missed out on so much.”

"Poppy was the hero - the nurses brought her a little cape."

Leisha with an oxygen mask in hospital
Leisha is facing amputation as a result of her illness [Family picture]

Leisha spent nine weeks in hospital and is still undergoing treatment on her feet.

She was initially told she would have to have her feet amputated from the shin down but doctors now say only half of each foot needs to be removed after turning necrotic.

Now Leisha hopes her story will raise awareness of the symptoms of sepsis, as well as encouraging people to talk to their children about what to do in an emergency

"It is scary," she said.

"I always think what if the inevitable did happen and she didn’t know what to do. She doesn’t understand the gravity but she realises when I say you are my little hero, you saved mummy’s life, and she loves that."