THE FAMILY of a man who unexpectedly died at the age of 44 has been reunited with the pilot and doctor of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) who tried to save his life.
Chris Economides, from Houghton-le-Spring, suffered a heart attack at home on 16 June 2018 and the GNAAS paramedic and doctor team were called to the scene.
Mr Economides’ wife Anita Economides said: “Chris was very fit and healthy, he went to the gym for two hours every day and didn’t drink or smoke. My son Dion found him, and it was a huge shock seeing Chris on the floor.”
GNAAS doctor Dion Arbid and paramedic Tim West arrived at the home and worked alongside North East Ambulance Service paramedics in trying to restore Mr Economides’ heartbeat.
Mrs Economides said: “The air ambulance crew on the day were so amazing, I’ll never forget seeing the doctor Dion, I let him in and saw his name tag on his uniform which is the same name as my son and I thought it was a sign from God that everything was going to be ok. The guys worked on him and managed to get Chris’ heartbeat back.”
Mr Economides was flown to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, but sadly he died the following day.
Mrs Economides said: “We were devastated as he was amazing. Chris was our world, an incredible dad to our three boys, and he’s hugely missed. When we had his funeral, we couldn’t fit everyone in the church, he was so well liked and respected.”
His family recently met Dr Arbid and pilot Jay Steward at the GNAAS base at Durham Tees Valley Airport.
They presented them with a cheque for £10,207.99 which was raised for the charity by Mr Economides’ family and friends.
Mrs Economides said: “Chris always helped people and we knew we had to do something for GNAAS. We wanted to turn a negative into a positive. It was horrendous what happened, but our family are quite strong, and we’ve had lots of support.”
Mr Economides’ closest family and friends have now taken 36 places at the charity’s Air Angels Ball which is held on 15 June at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, two days before the one-year anniversary of Mr Economides’ death.
Their eldest son Cameron is also doing the Great North Run for GNAAS.
Mrs Economides said: “We look forward to working with GNAAS and raising more money and awareness for this worthwhile service.
“It’s amazing the resilience these guys have in getting up every day and being dedicated to saving people’s lives, they are remarkable.”
Last year GNAAS was called out 1062 times and needed to raise £5.1m. To find out how you can help, please visit www.gnaas.com or call 01325-487263.