Ambulance crew raise cash for lifesaving kit in zipwire challenge

Two ambulance crew members have gone above and beyond to provide the communities they serve with lifesaving defibrillators.

Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 11:56 am
Stacey and Luke donate defibrillators to, from left, Charlie Torrence, South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade volunteer, John Maughan, South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade volunteer, Joanne McGowan, project administrator at Salvation Army Southwick Community Project, Julie Judson, child and family worker at Salvation Army Southwick Community Project and Gary Hannah, South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade captain.

Stacey Fox and Luke Hopper, who both work for North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), completed a charity zip wire from the Tyne Bridge last April to raise money for North East Hearts with Goals.

The organisation places defibrillators into communities across the region.

The charitable pair, who work as emergency care technicians based at Ryhope ambulance station, hoped to raise £777 – the price of one defibrillator – through the event, but surpassed all expectations by raising enough money to buy three.

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They have now hand delivered the defibrillators to the South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade, Salvation Army Southwick Community Project and Cullercoats FC.

Stacey, 28, from South Shields, said: “My dad has an extensive cardiac history, having had seven heart attacks and a cardiac arrest.

“Because of my dad, everywhere I go, I want there to be one available.

“On top of this, my work out on the road gives me first-hand experience of how important it can be for patients to have a defibrillator on scene.

“We had a lot of donations from our family and friends but also from our NEAS colleagues, so we’d really like to thank everyone for their support.

“I hope none of these have to be used, but if they are I hope they make a difference.”

A defibrillator is used when a person goes into cardiac arrest. It works by sending out an electrical shock to the heart, which momentarily stops the heart with the aim of bringing it back to a normal rhythm.

The defibrillator automatically detects whether it is needed, meaning anybody can use it.

Luke, aged 23, from Fulwell, added: “We respond to cardiac arrests all the time and know that every second without a defibrillation in certain cardiac arrests will reduce a patient’s chance of survival.

“We only intended to raise enough money for one so to be able to buy three was amazing.”

NEAS is aware of around 215 community public access defibrillators (cPADs) across the North East, available for members of the public to use in an emergency after calling 999.

This is on top of hundreds of static defibrillators placed inside many public places across the region, such as leisure centres.

Julie Judson, child and family worker at Salvation Army Southwick Community Project, said: “It’s been absolutely fabulous to be given the donation of a defibrillator.

“It gives reassurance to the community for them to know it’s there as, if the worst does happen, it increased a person’s chance of survival.”