Surviving Together : We had a meet up!

Regional meet ups provide a whole multitude of benefits to our members and is something we are striving to establish more off and also develop a clear process and structure.

Susan and I have attended a number of meet ups over the years I have been involved in Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK and it is quite difficult to accurately describe how you feel meeting like minded people, all at different stages of their journey and all with slightly different, but a lot of the time, similar experiences.

The main thing is they get “it” whatever “it” is.

They don’t have to be formal

positive senior man in eyeglasses showing thumbs up and looking at camera
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

On Saturday 26th May 2024 we attended a meet up arranged in Central Scotland. This had been arranged since January 2024, so gave plenty of time for group members to make arrangements to attend.

Meet ups don’t have to be formal occasions, indeed they are generally the exact opposite.   A group of people with one thing in common, usually meeting in a pub for a few hours and chatting with each other in what is always a very relaxed environment.

Susan and I arrived just after 1pm on Saturday, the hotel had kindly put a room aside for us, albeit not exclusive, but enough room for us all to be seated and move about if need be. As we walked in, there was the usual apprehension of what the day was going to be like, a feeling that I’m sure every single person present had experienced.

Preparation helps others

To try and reduce that and overcome any concerns that attendees may have had, a few weeks ago I pulled together a Facebook Messenger group and included all members who had said they were attending. This allowed for us to provide updates on location, travel and so on, and answer any questions that may have been looming about.

Entering the room was like a breath of fresh air.

You never know how many people are going to attend, as on occasions there will be obvious call offs, the room was full and still more to come, everyone was chatting away, sounds of laughter and just a wholesome friendly and comforting atmosphere.

The new and the old

There were many faces I knew from the group and had previously chatted with at previous meetups, and likewise, there were several new faces.

In total 21 people attended, 17 survivors and 4 partners/and/or lifesavers.

Of those 17, 5 had never met anyone who had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, this was their first time. The majority of attendees had arrived on their own, just to point out to those reading this, you can bring someone, but you don’t have to.

As we chatted around the room there was so much experiences to share.   We had members who had suffered their cardiac arrest as recent as March 2024, to those who were 10 years down the line if not longer, age groups varied massively and we had a mixture of males and females present, there really was something for everyone.

Show me yours and I will show you mine!

children playing with animal toys
Photo by cottonbro studio on

One thing I did notice and it nearly made me laugh out loud, was when the comparison of ICD sites started for those who were able to proudly show off their devices, where they were positioned, what make they were, what they looked like. Whilst not everyone present had an ICD, those who did really got into a discussion about theirs.

The afternoon really passed quickly, we only booked the room for 2 hours and it went in a flash. Should we have booked longer? – absolutely and that was learning for the future, we are all learning on this journey.

Attendees were from all over, whilst the majority were based in Central Scotland area, some had travelled a considerable distance from the West coast of Scotland, all the way down to Manchester.

A successful day was had by all

As we all departed, having been fed and watered, there was an amazing sense of camaraderie, joy to an extent. Everyone in attendance had overcome a hurdle to be there, for some it would have been easy to attend, for others not so easy. The important fact though, is everyone left with a smile on their face and expressed their gratitude.

Here is what some attendees had to say about the meet up

Really enjoyed the meet-up, it was great to meet fellow survivors and partners to compare notes after my very recent OHCA. Look forward to keeping in touch

Good to see some old and new faces today and swap experiences

Thanks to all those involved with organising yesterday’s event. It was great to meet with everyone and speak in person to those who were previously just ‘names’ from FB. Just a shame there was no time to move around and chat with others a bit more before we were kicked out. But it sure was interesting hearing people’s experiences first hand and seeing everyone who’ve been through so much, happy and smiling

Effective peer support

Whilst the medical people do such an incredible job, meeting another survivor/key supporter and sharing experiences provides something that no medicine can.

It doesn’t take a lot of effort to arrange a meet up, and the benefits are amazing, as we saw on Saturday.

The essence of Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK is that we are a peer to peer support group.

Our aim is to develop these regional meet ups and make it as easy as possible for our members to arrange them.

Over the coming weeks we will be publishing further articles with our plans to develop a structure to assist in arranging meet ups throughout the country.  

Hopefully by reading this article it will settle minds and highlight the benefits of meeting up with your Peers

We are SCA UK!

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