I remember the moment when I receive THAT phone call, "You need to come to the school, Sam's not well, we've called an ambulance." I knew from her tone of voice, and from the fact that we had somewhere deep down been waiting for a moment like this since Sam was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy as a baby, that it was his heart and that it was serious.
I ran to the school, pushing my 6 month old baby's pushchair with one hand, carrying his car seat with the other - my husband was on his way from work in the car - and mumbling over and over 'please just be okay when I get there.' I must have looked like a mad woman but I didn't care. I could hear multiple sirens closing in. There is surely no dread you can feel deeper than hearing sirens and knowing they are for your child. Then the air ambulance flew overhead.
When we arrived at school Sam was in the back of the ambulance being 'worked on', surrounded by emergency vehicles, doctors, and police officers. He was unconscious and had a breathing tube down his throat and several tubes inserted here and there.
But he was alive.
Only then did I let the tears flow. I was told later by the head teacher that I wailed 'this is my worst nightmare." I know now that it wasn't my worst nightmare. For the families of 95% of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest the nightmare is far worse - there loved ones die. Many times sudden cardiac arrest is the first symptom of an undiagnosed heart condition, and 95% of times it is fatal - unless there is bystander intervention (CPR and Defibrillator application).
Sam was saved by his teachers performing CPR and shocking him 4 times using the defibrillator recently purchased by his school.
Our local paper, the Daily Echo
, started a campaign to get defibrillators in all schools, and now we are supporting that campaign by rasing awareness of the issue and raising funds with the aim of providing defibrillators and lifesaving skills training in as many UK schools as possible, starting wiht the South Coast. All funds donated will be used to set up our campaign website and purchase defibrillators to donate to schools.
Please help save a child's life in school by donating today.