Northern Ireland news

Cardiac arrest survivors support defibrillator campaign

Heart of our Community campaign will see the installation of more than 300 defibrillators outside Spar, Eurospar and Vivo stores across the north.

TWO CARDIAC arrest survivors have expressed their support for a campaign that will see public-access defibrillators being installed across the north.

Lynda Donaldson (55) from Lisburn, and Wendy Cunningham (42) from East Belfast, have made videos with Spar NI describing the day that changed their lives.

In her video, Lynda describes how her heart suddenly stopped beating as she was walking in Saintfield. Thanks to the intervention of passers-by trained in first aid and the use of a defibrillator, Lynda was revived by the time the first responders had arrived on the scene.

Since her cardiac arrest, Lynda has devoted her free time to teaching others CPR skills, through the Heart Start Programme with the British Heart Foundation.

 

Wendy Cunningham said she suffered a cardiac arrest in a swimming pool, just after “a voice told me to get out of the pool.” Friends and staff were able to perform CPR and use a defibrillator to ensure Wendy’s heart was beating again.

In her video, Wendy explains how she was in a coma for three days but her experience has done anything but hinder her passion for swimming and for life.

The videos, commissioned by the Henderson Group for the Heart of our Community campaign, hope to raise awareness of the fundraising campaign, which will see the installation of more than 300 defibrillators outside Spar, Eurospar and Vivo stores across the north.

Bronagh Luke from the Henderson Group said that the campaign has received “an incredible response from the public” since its launch in October.

“We are so grateful to Lynda and Wendy for trusting us to tell their stories,” she said.

"They are remarkable women, and the courage of those who saved them only goes to show how important it is for the public to learn life-saving CPR skills, and not to be put-off using a defibrillator.

“We hope the public watch these videos and are inspired by the experiences shared, and help us to ensure life-saving devices are available for all communities in the country”.

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