When CPR expert David Sullivan saved the life of a young golfer, the experience gave him the drive to train an army of other lifesavers.
And now he’s giving people living in Perth and Fife the chance to learn CPR as part of his marathon charity fundraiser next week.
David is walking from John O’Groats to Lands End, covering between 14 and 30 miles a day – all the while hitting a golf ball – to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.
In the week football fans around the world watched Denmark’s Christian Eriksen’s life saved by the swift action of CPR-trained medics, David’s fundraising challenge has become more relevant than ever.
David, 58, a former armed forces skiing and mountain craft trainer, has lost four close friends under the age of 45 to cardiac arrest.
He decided to take a refresher course on CPR – which turned out to be a life saver.
Whilst playing at a golf course in Kent in 2016, he saved the life of a 28-year-old man who had a cardiac arrest in front of him.
David gave him CPR for almost 20 minutes until the man could be treated with a defibrillator.
‘If I hadn’t done the course he’d be dead’
He said: “He had no pulse and when he was taken away by the ambulance I had little hope he was going to survive.
“His mum phoned me the next day and told me he’s sitting up in bed reading a newspaper. If I hadn’t done that course he would be dead.
“It was thanks to my training, and a defibrillator being nearby, that I was able to help save the man.
“When something like that happens right in front of you, it makes you realise how precious life is and how important it is to know what to do in that kind of emergency.
The fundraiser will take him 10 weeks to complete with golf-loving David visiting Perth’s King James VI Business Centre on June 24 and then Cowdenbeath Golf Club on June 25 as part of his route, before crossing over to Edinburgh.
He aims to raise £60,000 to help place life-saving defibrillators into villages, towns and cities up and down the country.
“It was an experience which profoundly affected me, and now it’s my mission to create an army of lifesavers all over the country.
And at every one of David’s 70 stops on his journey, he will be training people how to save lives with CPR.
‘Everyone should learn CPR’
Barbara Kobson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said there are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year but the survival rate is less than one in 10.
She said: “We believe everyone should learn CPR, as quick action can save a life. It’s crucial we continue to find opportunities to offer everyone training in CPR – including in secondary school education – and that we make public access defibrillators readily available in the places they are needed most.
“In Scotland, all 32 local authorities have committed to ensuring all pupils learn CPR before they leave secondary school, and CPR will be on the school curriculum as of 2022.
“We’re committed to building a nation of lifesavers, and are pleased to say that almost 90% of all schools in the UK now have BHF CPR kits.”
- Due to Covid-19, there are several important changes to CPR. For further information, go to the British Heart Foundation’s CPR webpage.