On 3rd November I visited Victoria Owen and Jenny & Elwyn Hancock the mother and grandparents of Sophie Owen who won a life-saving defibrillator package for Jaguar Land Rover from our Restart A Heart competition in October.
In 2019 when Sophie was 17, her father Chris passed away aged just 54 after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the driveway of their family home.
While her father had received CPR from a neighbour, she also learned that access to a defibrillator could have increased his chance of survival. Sophie was suddenly left without a father, unsure what to do next, and how to process this event that had changed her entire life.
Her Father had a family history of heart problems, but did not think anything of it or go to see a doctor when some warning signs arose. Sophie has pushed to raise as much awareness as possible on heart health and the diseases that can lead to SCA and other health problems.
What is Sudden Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening condition that strikes without warning, SCA affects people of all ages and backgrounds. It's important to note that SCA is not the same as a heart attack, although the two terms are often used interchangeably. A heart attack results from a blockage in blood flow, while SCA is primarily an electrical problem within the heart.
Unlike other cardiac conditions, SCA occurs suddenly and without warning. Common symptoms include:
- Loss of Consciousness: The person suddenly collapses and loses consciousness.
- No Pulse or Breathing: The affected individual will not have a detectable pulse or be breathing normally.
- Unresponsiveness: Attempts to wake the person are usually unsuccessful.
How Is SCA Treated?
Recognize the signs of SCA, which include the sudden loss of consciousness, absence of a pulse, and abnormal or absent breathing.
Call 999 immediately
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR):
Begin CPR as soon as possible. CPR involves chest compressions and rescue breaths (Optional) to circulate oxygenated blood to vital organs.
High-quality chest compressions are a critical component of CPR. Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute and allow for chest recoil between compressions.
Use of a Defibrillator:
If a defibrillator is available, use it as soon as possible. Defibrillators are devices that analyse the heart's rhythm and deliver a shock (defibrillation) to restore a normal heart rhythm.
Follow the instructions provided by the defibrillator, which include placing electrode pads on the chest and allowing the device to analyse the heart rhythm.
Since losing her father, Sophie has struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Things such as police lights and ambulance sirens can trigger flashbacks to that day. Sophie works hard to ensure nobody else has to experience the pain of losing a loved one, all for the sake of not having the right equipment nearby.
In November 2022, alongside her studies, Sophie created Heart Health in Business, a dedicated LinkedIn group set to spread awareness of CPR, SCA and heart disease, and to encourage the adoption of defibrillators on site in businesses.
Sophie has successfully installed a defibrillator at her previous university campus that is stored in a locked cabinet and accessible to passers by. She is extremely proud that if anything was to happen at the campus, the staff and students have the best chance of survival. She wont stop there and has her sights set on encouraging more employers to follow suit.
We are delighted to be supporting Sophie and her family with this life-saving package that will be installed in memory of her late father, with a plaque to be added to the outdoor cabinet. We know Sophie's father will be looking down feeling extremely proud of his daughter and the great work she is doing to help spread awareness of heart health and SCA in his memory.
If you would like to be in with a chance to receive a defibrillator for your local charity/community, please contact us today