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Hand on Heart making progress with providing free defibrillators and CPR training

Fabrice Muamba's collapse during a match has highlighted the dangers faced by many people.

Even before Saturday's incident, a Salford-based charity was celebrating some positive news as they had made progress in their bid to provide free defibrillators and CPR training to schools.

12 young people die each week from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), 80% of who are asymptomatic beforehand.

Although current chances of survival from an SCA in the UK are only 6%, immediate access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) increases this chance to 74%.

This is where Hand on Heart is stepping in. The campaign, which began in March 2010 and is based in Cadishead, Salford, has already provided 12 schools with free AEDs as well as free CPR training for staff and pupils.

Full charity status

Hand On Heart now has full charity status and is making a big push to get more schools involved, to work with local organisations and to find a public ambassador who will help to promote the campaign further.

Campaign Manager Gina Harris says that: “We believe that the Hand on Heart campaign is a very powerful way of raising awareness to the problem of cardiac arrest in the young, but also a way of doing something positive about it by providing life saving solutions into schools”.

In October, a boy as young as 2 years old was saved with a defibrillator after he suffered a cardiac arrest caused by a pre-existing heart condition.

Unfortunately, for every survivor story there is often a tragic case to match it, such as the sudden deaths of 17 year old Jordan Grant and 15 year old schoolgirl Lily Webster in the past two months.

These are the kind of story that Hand On Heart wants to help to avoid and it has motivated them to turn a lunchtime conversation into a fully registered charity.


Little Lever School in Bolton is one of the schools which has already benefitted from Hand On Heart’s work. An ex-student, Aylish Doherty, nominated the school for a free defibrillator because her friend had suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed in September 2010.

Headteacher Mr. Hewitt commented that, “We will never forget the events of September 2010 and how the training and quick action of two teachers saved the life of one of our students. I am very grateful to receive the ‘Hand on Heart’ award”.

The campaign began when four companies (Imperative Training,, Laerdal and Philips) decided that more needed to be done about cardiac arrest in the young.

Since April 2011, two monthly winners have been picked from a list of nominations to receive a free defibrillator and training. Nominations have come from staff, parents and pupils, often after reading the shocking statistics on SCA in the UK.

“On January 16th, my mother collapsed and died in the medical centre; having a defibrillator could have potentially saved her. If this could prevent the death of any students at school, then the possession of an AED is imperative,” said Fliss Boobyer of Kent College, winners in September 2011.

7% of the pupils have diagnosed heart conditions

The work of the charity has also been good news for schools such as Abbey School, Rotherham, where 7% of the pupils have diagnosed heart conditions.

Jill Elburn, of St. Teresa’s School in Surrey (winners in June 2011), told us: “We are very grateful to the Hand on Heart charity for providing us with the equipment and the necessary training. The safety of our girls, staff, parents and all visitors to the school is paramount and this device contributes greatly to that”.

The staff at Hand on Heart now believe they can go from strength to strength and take their campaign all over the country.

After seeing the statistics, it is hard to think of a parent or member of staff who would not want Hand On Heart to work with their school.

To make a donation to Hand On Heart text “HAND88 £3” (or replace ‘3’ with an amount of your choice) to 70070 or visit

For more information on Hand on Heart, or to nominate a school, please visit, go to or follow @HandonHeart on Twitter.

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