Dakota Tucker back in the saddle after months of illness
PUBLISHED: 12:14 08 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:14 08 February 2020
Cranbrook's child BMX star Dakota Tucker usually hits the headlines for winning races, but she has also beaten a rare and serious illness.
Just weeks after competing in the World Championships in Belgium last July, she was taken ill with chicken pox, and suffered an extreme reaction.
The six-year-old developed an extensive blood clot and then sepsis, along with a lung effusion ('water on the lungs'). She was treated in the high dependency unit of the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
After three weeks in hospital, she had six weeks of intravenous antibiotics, and three months of anti-coagulation (blood thinning) injections, home injected, twice a day.
Dakota's father Grayham Tucker said: "We were told to prepare ourselves for the blood clot to never go .... it would harden to her vein walls and form part of her anatomy, but apparently do no harm or hinder her growth in the future.
"After a check-up in December with the departments of immunology, haematology and general paediatrics, preparing for another three-month course of injections, Dakota went through further tests, ultrasounds and X-rays, to miraculously identify that the blood clot had gone, and left no residual trace. Her body had fought it.
"Dakota is usually fit and healthy, known for her athleticism in BMX, but developed this extremely rare infection.
"We truly believe her sport has also helped her recovery, and to bounce back.
"But six months off her bike, away from her love of racing, was crucifying, for all our family."
Dakota, now aged seven, is back in the saddle, and looking forward to the 2020 racing season, starting in March.
Throughout the season she will be supporting the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and raising awareness by displaying its Grand Appeal for funding on her helmet and race plate.
The entire National Elite Race Team Absolute BMX will also be supporting the hospital and charity on their race shirts.
Mr Tucker said: "We wanted to raise awareness to the complications the common virus of chicken pox can cause, and pay our infinite thanks to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children who helped Dakota.
"Coming through the other side, the support of loved ones and the specialist doctors, consultants and nurses will never be forgotten."