23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 19-12-2014 11:23

      Friday 12, December 2014

      Salford mum who lost teenage daughter after cardiac arrest welcomes defibrillators in schools

      A SALFORD mum who lost her 14-year-old daughter to a sudden cardiac arrest has welcomed the city’s move to put defibrillators in all schools in the area.


      A MOTHER'S LOVE: Tracey with daughter Olivia

      Tracey Raby’s daughter Olivia tragically passed away at St. Ambrose Barlow School after collapsing during a game of rounders in 2008. Her life could have been saved if a defibrillator was available.


      Ms Raby is pleased to see that Salford has now become the first city in the country to have the life-saving machines in every school.


      She said: “If it helps any further families from going through the heartache of losing a precious child then it is brilliant, as it is the worst pain ever and never goes away.”


      The Salford-based charity Hand on Heart and Salford City Council have come together to ensure that all 97 schools in the area are equipped with defibrillators.


      Defibrillators deliver a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart and can rapidly improve the condition of the patient. Having a defibrillator on site can make the crucial difference between someone recovering from the cardiac arrest or dying.


      Ms Raby added: “It’s so important to raise awareness as before Liv died I had never heard about the condition, however since her death so many young people have died in a similar way.


      “Around 12 young people die every week from cardiac arrest, that’s 12 more than there should be.”


      Hand on Heart also offers training for teachers and pupils on the machines and other life support skills, including CPR.


      Once a school receives life-saving equipment and training is completed, they are then given Heart Safe status.


      The automated external defibrillators which have been supplied to Salford schools are portable and include simple audio and visual commands. The machines also diagnose the cardiac problem and treat it through electrical therapy.


      Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart backs the campaign and has helped the charity achieve its goals. He said: “Once again Salford people have blazed a trail that I hope every other school in the country will be able to copy.”


      Ms Raby also has the same dream: ““I am hopeful that one day every school in the country will have defibrillators, as you can’t put a price on a child’s life.”


      Over 400 fully and partially funded defibrillator packages have been issued to schools by Hand on Heart since the charity began back in 2010. Its aim is to successfully make every school in the UK Heart Safe in the near future.


      In just over a year £140,000 has been raised through public donations and grants to provide schools with the machines.


      Research shows that if a defibrillator is used within the first three minutes that someone is in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival increases by 74%. For every minute which goes by without treatment, the victim’s chances plummet by 10%.



      Lesley Groome, from Hand on Heart, explained: “We want to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest out there in the schools, raise funds and put defibrillators into the schools and teach staff how to use them and teach children a life skill, CPR, how to call 999 and recognise the signs of having a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest.”


      The charity has had funding help from organisations including Armitage Residents’ Group, City West Housing Trust and Oakland’s Hospital Group.


      To find out more about funding defibrillators in schools and Hand on Heart visit their website.

      By Rebecca Frankland