Carlisle man has emotional reunion with lifesavers


AN emotional reunion has taken place between a man who collapsed and stopped breathing and the people who saved his life. Adrian Sweeney, 45, from Carlisle, was volunteering at the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) when he fell to the ground in the charity’s Penrith office on August 19. The father-of-three said: “I was helping in the office upstairs when I started to feel a bit sick and so I said I was going outside for some fresh air.

AN emotional reunion has taken place between a man who collapsed and stopped breathing and the people who saved his life.

Adrian Sweeney, 45, from Carlisle, was volunteering at the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) when he fell to the ground in the charity’s Penrith office on August 19.

The father-of-three said: “I was helping in the office upstairs when I started to feel a bit sick and so I said I was going outside for some fresh air. After that, I don’t remember anything other than closing the door behind me.”

Harriet Langston, 25, of Barnard Castle, who is a fundraiser for GNAAS, leapt into action.

She said: “I heard a groan, a loud sigh and then a thud so I knew straight away that something bad had happened.

“I rushed out the door and found Adrian on the floor, slumped against the wall. I tried to wake him but when I couldn’t I shouted for help, grabbed the phone and dialled 999.”

Harriet then began CPR under the instruction of North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) emergency call handler, Sara McDonnell, while another volunteer, Oliver Jones, kept a lookout for the ambulance.

Harriet said: “I monitored his breathing but it deteriorated and he changed colour so with Sara’s guidance, I started chest compressions.

“After a while, he took a deep breath and seemed to come around. A few seconds later, a rapid response paramedic arrived which was a huge relief. I couldn’t have done it without Sara’s help.”

Adrian, who is a former community defibrillation officer, said: “I woke up with a lot of people stood around me. I was in deep shock that I’d got to the stage of not breathing.”

Now, he has been reunited with the people who helped him where the incident happened.

He said: “How do you thank the people that have saved your life? There are no words. I’m just so grateful to them all.

“GNAAS not only have life-saving medics but life-saving fundraisers now too.

“I spent many years teaching CPR to both youngsters and adults but you never feel that one day it’s going to be you that needs it.”

Harriet said: “It was a scary experience and it just means the world that he’s here.”  

Sara, 25, from Liverpool, who has worked for NWAS just over a year, said: “A lot of the time I don’t get to find out what has happened to somebody after I have spoken to them or their family and so stories like this make it all worthwhile.”

Oliver added: “I was really concerned for Adrian and so it’s great to see him back to his cheeky self.

Adrian hopes to return to volunteering at GNAAS soon. To learn more about volunteering opportunities at the charity, please call 01748-899150. 

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