Mum who launched defibrillator campaign after losing son to heart attack has life saved by device
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Jackie Waight and her husband Ken have spent the last 15 years raising funds and campaigning for the heart health devices to be introduced across the city following the death of their son Richard in 2009 from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) – a condition where someone dies suddenly following a cardiac arrest and no obvious cause can be found.
Richard, 23, who was a science teacher at Hayfield School, has been the couple’s inspiration for their huge funding drive, which has seen nearly 50 defibrillators installed across Doncaster.
But in January this year, the pair had to make use of one of the machines themsevles when Jackie fell ill at the family home in Sprotbrough.
Said Ken: “Thankfully, things happened very quickly, both at the time and in the subsequent weeks such that she is now very much leading a normal life again."
And as a thank you to the ambulance service and the local community, the couple have personally funded a new defibrillator at the Methodist Church in Sprotbrough.
Added Ken: “It is now available for use, but hopefully such use will be very rare.”
The machine on Park Drive is an additional defibrillator for the village, after one was installed at the doctors’ surgery, with the help of Copley School, over five years ago.
Since the tragedy of their son’s death, the couple have raised funds for both SADS UK and Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), over the last few years.
He added: “As a result, we have helped place nearly 50 defibrillators at schools and other public locations, mostly in and around Doncaster, many in partnerships with local organisations, using funds raised from a series of annual charity golf days.
"We have raised over £105,000 in total and we have also funded annual cardiac screening days for young people, through CRY.”
He added: “We still have funding available to help pay up to 50% for any community organisation or group that would like to put a defibrillator at their location. All they have to do is get in touch.”
Anyone interested should email [email protected] for details.