Woman given 8% chance of survival now a volunteer for GNAAS

A WOMAN who had an 8% chance of survival following a cardiac arrest, is now a volunteer for the charity who helped save her life.

Sue Wikinson, 71, from Stockton, had been enjoying coffee with her friends in July 2021 when she started to feel unwell.

Recalling the incident, she said: “I had said to the girls that I had a lot of pain in my back but we’re all always moaning about pain, so it got left as that and then we had a wander around Poundland.”

Upon returning home, Sue rang 111 and informed the operator that she had a really bad pain between her shoulder blades.

She said: “A crew from the North East Ambulance Service was sent out and they were taking a history when I said I think I am going to faint, and my heart stopped. They pulled me onto the floor and started CPR and I was unresponsive.

“They called another team out which was the CIPHER Medical ambulance crew and continued CPR and then the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).”

The retired civil servant was placed in an induced coma on scene by the critical care team from GNAAS and taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where she stayed for six days.

She has since reunited with the teams who helped her and signed up as a volunteer for GNAAS, who are entirely reliant on public donations.

She said: “Volunteering with the air ambulance is my way of trying to thank them for literally saving my life after an out of hospital cardiac arrest. I had an 8% chance of survival in July 2021 and because of the amazing medical team I lived to tell the tale.”

Sue has 35 years of charity management experience, and she uses her skills to assist GNAAS’ fundraising team with administrative tasks at their headquarters in Eaglescliffe.

She said: “In the last few months I have been telephoning supporters to follow up on any fundraising pledges they’ve made, ringing schools to offer an assembly, entering data on where collection boxes have been sited and so on.”

In addition to volunteering, Sue helps to raise funds for the charity by hosting coffee mornings and selling plants, books and crafts.

She’s also on the committee of Teesside High School Former Students’ Association, who raise funds for local charities, including GNAAS.

She said: “There are loads of ways volunteers can help GNAAS. No matter how much or how little time people have available, there will always be something they can do.

“Anyone who signs up will receive training and you also get an incentive of being reimbursed for your expenses.”

David Stockton, chief executive officer at GNAAS, said: “We are very grateful to have over 100 regular volunteers supporting GNAAS as well as several who lend a hand on a one-off basis during summer events.

“They all play a vital role in helping to raise the money we need to keep our service flying, and I would encourage anyone interested in volunteering to get in touch.

“We have a range of activities people can get involved in, including manning show stalls, delivering public presentations, emptying tins, and doing store collections.

“Whether you can spare a few hours or want to volunteer on a more regular basis we’d love to hear from you.”

Translate »