“I wake up happy every single day because I’m alive and that’s because of GNAAS.”
A 71-year-old woman from Stockton has celebrated the two-year anniversary since the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) saved her life by getting a tattoo of the charity’s logo on her back.
Back in July 2021, Sue Wilkinson had been enjoying coffee with friends when she started to feel unwell.
Sue said: “I had said to the girls that I had pain between my shoulder blades but we’re always moaning about pain, so it got left as that and then we wandered around Primark.”
On returning home from the trip, Sue felt as though she was going to faint. Her partner, Alastair Wright called 999, promoting an urgent response from the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), GNAAS and a CIPHER Medical ambulance crew.
Sue’s condition quickly deteriorated to the point that her heart stopped beating.
Sue said: “That’s when GNAAS performed a miracle on me.”
The retired civil servant was placed in an induced coma on scene and taken to James Cook University Hospital where she stayed for six days. She has since made a full recovery.
Sue said: “The teams brought me back from the brink of death and do such a magnificent job. They saved my life.”
Sue – who says she is more commonly known locally as the “corned beef pie lady” in recognition of her baking, visited the GNAAS team back in September 2021 at their Eaglescliffe base and brought along pies for all those who helped her.
Last week marked the two-year anniversary since Sue said she was ‘brought back to life’, and she decided to mark the occasion by visiting a local tattoo shop in Stockton.
Sue said: “I wanted to celebrate two years since having my life back.
“It was funny really, walking into the tattoo shop full of young people who were probably thinking who is this granny with her walking stick?
“I’m still 18-years-old in my head.”
Since her cardiac arrest, Sue has decided to give something back and now volunteers at GNAAS on a regular basis, bringing her famous homemade corned beef pies and sausage rolls for the team.
Sue said: “I wake up happy every single day because I’m alive and that’s because of GNAAS.
“I’ve been able to celebrate every milestone since like Christmas with my family, adventures with friends.
“Please support GNAAS, it is so important.”