A charity volunteer who has devoted 10 years to training people in vital lifesaving skills has now taught more than 5,000 people.
The JHMT was set up was set up in memory of Rothley teenager Joe Humphries, who collapsed and tragically died from SADS – sudden arrhythmic death syndrome – in October 2012, while he was out jogging.
Since that time, the charity’s dedicated fundraisers, volunteers and medical leads have worked tirelessly to increase the number of public-access defibrillators available across the city and county.
They have also worked to increase awareness of sudden heart deaths and – crucially – to ensure as many people as possible are trained in CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
Retired cardiac nurse Alan Harrison-White is a vital member of the JHMT team, putting his skills to use for local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust.
Alan, 57 years of age, from Mountsorrel, said: “Because we do the training in groups, I can’t pinpoint exactly who the 5,000th person I trained was, but I know it will be someone from Gateway Sixth form College in Leicester where I did some training recently.
“I started doing the CPR training for the charity on the 3 September 2013, when I trained members of the local community in Rothley. Since then I’ve delivered training at hundreds of sports clubs, community venues and schools at all levels.”
The JHMT lifesaving training sessions – which are all free – can be arranged through the charity’s website jhmt.org.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and Alan says news is often spread about the sessions by word-of-mouth, too.
Chair of the JHMT Steve Humphries said: “This is a fantastic achievement and we’re so grateful to Alan for his commitment, dedication and determination over the past 10 years in getting the message out there – that sudden cardiac death isn’t inevitable, it’s preventable.
“Each and every one of us can all have a positive impact on the shocking statistics around sudden heart death. The Trust’s work goes on across the city and county to make more people aware of the symptoms of undiagnosed conditions like SADS, train more people in basic CPR lifesaving skills and place more defibrillators in our communities, taking the fear out using them.
“Currently less than 10% of people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK, but with effective CPR and defibrillation within 3-5 minutes of collapse, survival rates can be as high as 50–70%.”
Marcus Benjamin, Head of Student Experience at Gateway Sixth Form College, said: “Alan has continued the great work we have been doing for several years with Joe’s Trust (JHMT) and I am forever thankful to him and the trust for their continued support. Alan is an expert instructor, who always ensures all the students get actively involved and correctly trained. All the students always come away saying what a great experience they have had. I am forever thankful to Alan and the trust for all their hard work and support.”
Alan added: “I chose to go into cardiac nursing as it was a field of nursing that interested me and was very much hands-on regarding patient care. I worked as a cardiac nurse for 25 years – 15 on the coronary care unit at Leicester General Hospital, and then at the LRI A&E department as a cardiac specialist nurse.
“I really enjoy teaching these skills to people, as one day they may help them to save a life.”