Mum buys defib after husband died at son’s party

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A BEREAVED mum whose partner died in front of her son at his ninth birthday party has made an emotional plea for help in saving others.

Rugby coach Grant Stevenson collapsed just minutes into a laser tag game in Newbridge – he was just 44.

Now Susan MacDonald has raised £1400 with friends for a heart-starting defibrillator at her old school .

“The place where Grant died didn’t have a defibrillator and that could’ve helped,” said Susan, 47. “Nobody should go through what we went through.”

Pensions adviser Grant, from Balerno, had taken Susan’s son Blair out for his birthday in September 2015 when tragedy struck.

“He was such a well-loved guy,” said Susan. “It just happened with no warning. He was energetic and fit. He was healthy and was such a fantastic guy.”

Spurred on in memory of Grant, accounts manager Susan signed up for the 5km Big Fun Run Edinburgh last October in aid of the Sudden Adult Death Trust charity (SADS).

And despite only being out of hospital herself a month, she crossed the finishing line with friends Angela Way, Amanda Russell, Fiona O’Neill, Lesley Erskine and Susan Livingstone.

“If I can do it, anyone can do it,” said Susan. “100 per cent, every school and everywhere where there’s people doing activities should have a defibrillator – absolutely, they can save lives.”

Cash raised by the friends bought one of the £1000 machines for Dean Park School for use of the whole community, with training held this week. And the remaining £400 will go towards another one of the devices at Grant’s beloved Portobello Rugby Club.

“He loved his rugby and used to play there before coaching for years,” recalled Susan. “He was a quiet guy, but very vocal at the rugby.”

Edinburgh became the first local authority in Scotland to equip all of its high schools with life-saving defibrillators thanks to an Evening News campaign.

The Shockingly Easy campaign saw the News team up with the Jamie Skinner Foundation, a charity set up after the sudden death of the 13-year-old footballer.

A campaign to have the machines installed in all primary schools continues while in February, all 17 of the Capital’s tram were fitted with the lifesavers.

Defibrillators work by restoring the heart’s rhythm through an electric shock when a person goes into cardiac arrest. Campaigners at SADS UK said CPR gives a patient a 5 per cent chance of survival – but that boosts to over 50 per cent if coupled with a defibrillator.

Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, the Ashley Jolly SAD Trust, said: “We’re grateful to Susan MacDonald and friends for supporting the charity’s Big Shock Campaign to place defibrillators into all schools.

“We’re pleased that Dean Park School will now benefit from having a defibrillator to restart the heart if there is a cardiac arrest on the premises.”

andy.shipley@jpress.co.uk