Local charity Welsh Hearts Calonnau Cymru celebrates its 2nd birthday this week. Welsh Hearts was founded in 2013 by Sharon Owen and has been focusing on placing Defibrillators in communities and schools through-out Wales and holding free CPR training sessions to the public!
Welsh Hearts have trained over 7736 people in CPR and have placed 215 defibrillators across communities in Wales. The aim of this is to drastically improve the chances of those that have cardiac arrests outside of hospital where the first few minutes are absolutely crucial in saving their lives. In Wales there are approximately 8000 sudden cardiac arrests outside hospital each year. It’s shocking that the survival rate is only 3%. Where an AED (defibrillator) is used, the survival rate is 50%
The charity is working with Dr Bob Baron, a GP from Tonypandy, on the RCT100 Appeal to secure 100 plus Defibrillators in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area. To coincide with their second Birthday the charity are launching “Every Second Counts Appeal” an appeal to get 500 Defibrillators into Wales’ capital Cardiff.
Welsh Hearts have also teamed up with ‘Jack’s appeal’. In 2012 Jack Thomas, a fit and healthy A* student who had represented Wales all across Europe in Taekwondo died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. Jack’s death came as a complete shock to his parents June and Grant as Jack had never been ill. Working together with Jack’s Appeal Welsh Hearts go into Secondary and Primary schools teaching CPR and use of a Defibrillator and basic first aid training for younger pupils.
Every week 12 young people in the UK die suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition. Welsh Hearts wish to address this and from January 2016 will be running heart screening sessions for those aged 14-35 years to detect any heart abnormalities. The sessions will be free of charge and offered throughout the whole of Wales.
Welsh Hearts have also established a partnership with the WRU to make sure that every rugby club in Wales will soon have a defibrillator and all the members to be trained in CPR. To date 40 Rugby Clubs have emergency life saving equipment installed in their club and the confidence on how to perform CPR! The charity also works with other sports clubs throughout Wales to provide defibrillators and CPR training!
Sharon Owen, Charity Director and founder has worked in the charity sector for over 15 years and felt that more needed to be done in Wales to tackle heart disease. Sharon was also inspired to set up the charity because at the age of 11 during a routine check it was discovered that she had a heart murmur. Although Sharon has been lucky that the heart murmur has not caused any health issues, she was thankful that it was detected as it has meant that she has been more aware of the choices she has made in life. Sharon has also lost loved ones to heart disease which also spurred her on. Sharon said:
“Too many people here in Wales are losing their lives to heart disease on a daily basis. I also feel extremely sad when I hear that 12 young people lose their lives each week in the UK. This is why I am fighting for young people to be screened so any heart abnormalities can be detected early enough to save lives. And why communities need all across Wales need to be fully equipped with life saving skills and equipment. We have come a long way in a short space of time! Huge thanks to people who have supported us in these two years, including our wonderful Volunteers and the medical community who have supported us voluntarily but we still have a lot to do.” We are proud as a charity that every penny raised in Wales stays in Wales!
Welsh Hearts do not receive any funding and rely solely on donations and fundraising activities. If you would like to donate or fundraise or even volunteer some time, please get in touch via their website www.welshhearts.org or by calling 02920 786521