Woman inspired to fundraise for new defibrillator after friend suffered cardiac arrest

Amanda Norton, a workplace trainer for St John Ambulance, has this month seen a new public access de

Amanda Norton, a workplace trainer for St John Ambulance, has this month seen a new public access defibrillator installed on the outside of the charity’s premises on Mayfield Road - Credit: Archant

A Hartford woman was inspired to raise funds for a new life-saving defibrillator after her friend suffered a cardiac arrest.

Amanda Norton, a workplace trainer for St John Ambulance, started her fundraising efforts after a friend went into cardiac arrest but those rushing to help found there was no defibrillator available.

Fortunately, the man’s wife knew how to do cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an ambulance crew arrived quickly and was able to deploy its own defibrillator, meaning Amanda’s friend survived the incident.

Now, a new public-access defibrillator has been installed on the outside of the St John Ambulance premises in Mayfield Road, Huntingdon, thanks to Amanda’s tireless fundraising efforts.

The defibrillator is stored in a temperature-controlled cabinet on the wall of Crusader House and is registered on the NHS database, meaning that members of the public who need to use it in a cardiac arrest emergency can access it by calling 999.

Amanda said: “I enjoy fundraising and was spurred on to put together some activities after my friend’s incident. I mostly raised the money through tombolas, online raffles and local school fêtes, but have also been able to have charity tables at the Christmas lights switch-on and at Tesco.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who contributed funds, and to Tesco and the Christmas lights organisers for allowing me to fundraise there, and am obviously delighted to see the new unit installed on the outside of Crusader House. I hope other people will follow my example and try to raise money for more defibrillators around the town.”

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Defibrillators can dramatically improve the chances of survival for a cardiac arrest patient if deployed within the first few minutes alongside CPR. The devices are even able to talk through the process of how to deliver life saving shocks to a patient for someone with no experience.

To find out more about cardiac arrests and defibrillators, visit http://www.sja.org.uk/sja/first-aid-advice/heart/cardiac-arrest.aspx.