Cardiac arrest is an incredibly frightening occurrence of which no one is immune, not even children.
In the second edition of our "7 Questions" series, we were lucky enough to speak with Tracy Tyson, a mother whose son tragically suffered a cardiac arrest 3 years ago, but thankfully survived thanks to her quick actions to administer CPR and a shock from a defibrillator delivered by paramedics at the scene.
Below we share the questions defibshop.co.uk posed to Tracy which describes how her life has changed since the incident, and how she intends to spread awareness of SCA and promote the need for defibrillators in schools.
1. Were you aware of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and its risk before it affected you?
Tracy: "No, I was completely unaware of it until about 3 years ago when my son suffered a cardiac arrest at home."
2. Do you think that awareness of cardiac arrest and the risk of heart conditions has increased in the past 5 years?
Tracy: "Yes definitely. My son collapsed suddenly at home 3 years ago in August 2013 at just 6 years old.
Since then I have been raising awareness of the importance of CPR and AEDs as it was these which thankfully saved his life.
After he collapsed I performed CPR on him for around 13 minutes until the paramedics arrived, took over and used an AED to restart his heart. It wasn't until 24 hours later when he was Intensive Care was I told he had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest."
3. How has cardiac arrest changed your life?
Tracy: "Life has changed dramatically since that day. Following his collapse, my son has had an ICD (internal defibrillator) fitted which means we attend routine checkups at Great Ormond Street Hospital every 6 months.
Life is never the same after having to perform CPR on your son and witnessing an AED shock him to restart his heart. I feel blessed every day that he survived as I was shocked to learn that only 1 in 10 survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest."
4. What changes would you like to see over the next few years in regards to defibrillators and testing?
Tracy: "I would like to see more defibrillators available in public areas. I also believe defibrillators in schools and sporting venues should be a mandatory safety precaution.
I continue to raise awareness daily in regards to how defibrillators save lives which is why they're so important for easy public access."
5. Hot topic at the moment: do you think CPR and awareness of AEDs should be incorporated into the National Curriculum?
Tracy: "Yes 100% - my son's school in Stanstead Abbotts in Hertfordshire has 2 AEDs and I hope other schools will follow suit as it's incredibly important that all schools are aware of the risk. Also knowing how to perform CPR on a victim can make a life-saving difference and should be encouraged to learn in schools.
I have also noticed an accessible AED at our doctor's surgery so it's great to know there are more defibs available within the community."
6. Do you agree that with more accessible AEDs and knowledge of cardiac arrest we can make a real difference in the survival statistics of SCA?
Tracy: "Absolutely, raising awareness is crucial to help save more lives. One way I like to raise awareness is to ask people whether they have CPR skills and if they know where their nearest defibrillator is.
A simple enough question, but if it becomes something they consider in the future, it could potentially be the thing that saves another person's life."
7. How do you plan on raising awareness of cardiac arrest in the hope of making a difference?
Tracy: "I use twitter as a networking platform to regularly highlight the difference an AED and CPR can make in a cardiac emergency and to raise awareness of the need of defibs in schools.
I have also written magazine articles and pieces for local newspapers to raise awareness as this is something I feel very passionate about. If you don't know how to do CPR then google it today!"
We want to personally thank Tracy for taking the time to answer our questions, to share her experiences and her passion for raising awareness on this incredibly important issue.
Tracy's aims to make a difference match our goals as a brand as we continue to encourage the incorporation of First Aid into the National Curriculum and hope to soon see results in our work.
You can get to know Tracy and show support in her journey to make defibrillators mandatory in schools and public locations by following her on twitter.