After a nervous wait of some weeks, we’ve heard back from Guinness World Records that our attempt has been approved and that we can officially call ourselves “Guinness World Record Holders!”
Massive thanks must be given to those involved in organising and supporting the day especially Dr Tom Keeble and all yellow shirted volunteers (Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (Basildon Hospital), SADS UK, et al) for giving their time freely and making it such a wonderful day.
In fact you can repay your thanks in some way by voting for Dr Keeble in the NHS Hospital Heroes Awards that he has been nominated for. Just click this voting link and select Dr Tom Keeble, then click OK – that’s it!
It is fantastic to get the record and a real testament to the many people involved in the “Chain of Survival” of each of the 127 survivors, so the record is as much for them as it is us.
Survivors came from all over the country with many making a weekend of it and seeing Essex in a new light I think! Much appreciation must go to those who made the effort to travel long distances and to those where travelling is not easy. A special thanks must go to those who made significant sacrifices to be there especially the person who broke off from their holiday and flew in from Gran Canaria and then back the next day!
Those taking part in the record attempt were shown the following video which was essentially about them and the emotional 3 years of Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK.
The day was not just about making a record but about bringing together as many as possible to hopefully help them realise they are not alone and that there is indeed Life After Cardiac Arrest!
With a great selection of talks, an exhibition and tours of the cath lab the 300+ attendees had not only plenty to keep them occupied but also a rare chance to chat with others who’d had a similar experience.
We received a good number of feedback forms completed and the response was overwhelmingly positive (92% gave the day a 5/5 and the rest a 4/5!) and again nearly everyone (98%) said that it had been helpful to them. There were lot’s of positive comments about most of the aspects of the day but many were about the fact that this was an opportunity to meet other survivors.
“The whole event was one big party, but the attempt with us all in the room, just survivors was the most emotional and happy thing that I have been subject to in years”
“Meeting other survivors and their families, it was like therapy as everyone just gets it.”
“Being part of something amazing and feeling like a majority rather than a minority! Wonderful people with whom I have made friends and something I will treasure forever.”
“So many people with similar tales to tell who had overcome cardiac arrest (with significant help from the NHS and friends and family) and seeing similarities between your own experience and theirs”
“Best experience since my SCA by far.”
“Helpers were amazing”
“Hard to complain about anything really. VERY well organised”
There were a couple of grumbles which related to the timings and we can only apologise as we had a few hiccups along the way which did throw out a little and some on the fly decisions had to be made, so some lessons learnt there.
After the excitement of the day we had a “Celebration of Life” party in the evening which seemed to go down a treat with lots of people letting their hair down and getting in the spirit of things. Dr Keeble’s dancing and the sight of Gareth simulating resuscitation on him with an alien on his head will be a lasting memory for many! Possibly one of the most emotional moments of the day was the helicopter fly past by the Essex Air Ambulance.
“The evening event was so relaxed with people just getting to know each other – think we all feel we have made friends for life.”
“Amazing day, great organisers and the volunteers were very helpful throughout the day”
“You rock!!!!!! Simply one of the best weekends of my life!!!”
Unfortunately we will only get one copy of an official GWR certificate, but they do sell additional ones for the princely sum of £20! More information on this will be forthcoming soon.
The whole day was largely funded by donations sourced by Dr Keeble aided by SADS UK and we thank them, the organisations involved and the raffle prize donators hugely.
Obviously as the whole event has been such a success it would be sad not to follow it up with something else, there have been some suggestions already floated in the Facebook group and so we’ll just have to see. However, these things cost money and although SCA UK isn’t a charity you can help us make events like this happen by supporting us via SADS UK. We have a JustGiving page which they can take donations on our behalf. If you can spare anything we’d much appreciate it.
Of course the day wouldn’t of happened without the multitude of helpers and volunteers from various organisations (see below) and we thank you all, especially Dr Matt O’Meara of Essex Air Ambulance, Tom Gudde, Kevin Maloney of Headway Essex, Dr Bill Toff and colleagues from Heartwize, Dr Marco Mion, Neil Magee, James Whitfield, Liz Sharpe of Live Your Life Therapies, James Fenwick, Stuart Wright, James Young, St Johns Ambulance, London Ambulance Service, Henry Savage (photography), Alan Larn (video), Rory Keeble (video) and Mark Penn of Penn Sports for the t-shirts.
EHAAT – Air Ambulance service for Essex & Herts
Medtronic – Implant and other cardiac devices
Boston Scientific – Implant and other cardiac devices
Cardiac Science Corporation – AED’s and other cardiac devices
Cardionovum – Cardiac products such as coronary balloons and stents
Laerdal – Cardiac products
Livanova/Micrport – Cardiac products
Zoll – Defibrillators
Abbot Vascular (formerly St Judes) – Cardiac implants
After our first meet-up in February 2015, I realised I was not alone. It was the first time since my cardiac arrest the previous year that I had spoken face-to-face with someone who had experienced what I had. This was also true for my wife, who also happened to be my lifesaver. From that meet-up, the idea of SCA UK was born. Since then, we have achieved a considerable amount, primarily providing information, resources and support to others in a similar situation but also raising the profile of survivorship and the need for better post-discharge care. We are starting to get traction in this, and with the formation of the charity, I genuinely believe we have a bright future ahead and will make a significant difference in the lives of many who join our ranks.