Ambulance staff have lifesaving skills zipped up

Ambulance staff have lifesaving skills zipped up

Two trainee Emergency Care Technicians from North East Ambulance Service are raising money for a charity close to their hearts by doing a zip wire from the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle.

Luke Hopper and Stacey Fox will be taking to the air on Sunday, 17 April, to raise money for North East Hearts with Goals, which places lifesaving defibrillators into communities across the region.

Luke and Stacey work with emergency care colleagues from Pallion Station and Ryhope Station in Sunderland, clocking up more than 24,000 miles every year to respond to hundreds of patients who need their help.

The pair are hoping to raise £777, the price of one defibrillator, through the challenge.

Stacey, aged 28, of South Shields, has worked for the service for three years, having previously worked as a care worker.

“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.

“If we can raise enough money to put even one defibrillator more in our region, we could make a difference to someone’s life.”

Luke, aged 23, of Fulwell, has worked for the service for seven years in total, four years of which he spent in Control, dispatching ambulances before going on the road as an Emergency Care Assistant and progressing onto the Emergency Care Technician course.

He said: “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.  It’s something we feel strongly about.

“We have to jump off from the top of the Tyne Bridge and zip wire all the way down to the Baltic. I don’t like heights so I’m pretty nervous but it’s for a great cause.”

North East Ambulance Service already works closely with North East Hearts with Goals, supporting them in the placement of around 150 defibrillators since 2003.

The charity was started by sisters-in-law Kelly Best and Christine Stephenson following the death of Kelly’s husband and Christine’s brother, Neil, and the subsequent discovery that Kelly’s son Will has a hereditary heart muscle disease.

Christine said: “We've encouraged them to aim high and place a defibrillator somewhere of their choice in NEAS name.

“We have just over 80 people taking part in the zipwire and we're confident that we can make a big difference in the North East with this push.”

Adele Young, NEAS Community Resuscitation Development Officer, said: “When a person suffers a cardiac arrest, every second counts.  Early CPR along with early defibrillation increases the chances of survival for the patient.

“All ambulances and Rapid Response Vehicles carry a defibrillator, however, if the process can commence whilst the ambulance is travelling to the scene, the patient’s chances of a positive outcome for increase.”

To support Luke and Stacey in their fund-raising, please visit:

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