Students’ campaign will be ‘a life-saving legacy’

Armadale Academy students with a defibrillator. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
Armadale Academy students with a defibrillator. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
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The death of Danii Kane sent shockwaves through her community after she suffered an asthma-induced heart attack at the age of just 14.

But, determined to bring something positive out of the tragedy, her fellow students have raised more than £12,000 in her name to save the lives of others. The money will pay for a defibrillator for Danii’s old school, Armadale Academy, and four more heart start machines, as well as supporting the work of several charities.

Danii’s younger sister Elle, 12, was one of those who took part in the Armadale fundraising following her sister’s death two years ago.

She said: “For me it is partly about keeping Danii’s memory alive but also about knowing that this work will save the lives of others.

“My family are so proud of the outstanding work that Danii’s friends have done in Armadale Academy and our community.”

The pupils’ campaign was so successful that they not only secured a defibrillator for their own school but Windyknowe Primary School, Tesco Bathgate, Craig Inn Blackridge and Armadale Community Centre as well.

The remarkable effort follows in the footsteps of the Evening News’ hugely successful Shockingly Easy campaign. Prompted by the death of teenage footballer Jamie Skinner from a cardiac arrest in 2013, the campaign persuaded council chiefs to shell out £70,000 to install the devices in all 23 of Edinburgh’s secondary schools.

Armadale Academy head Carol McDonald said: “Danii’s friends were determined to do something positive to remember her and to help other people.

“A group of key students decided it was an opportunity to raise awareness of heart issues with young people and to buy a defibrillator for the school.

“Danii’s family were involved from the start and donated the money which was raised at Danii’s funeral to start the fundraising campaign.”

She added: “The students’ quest to bring something positive out of a heart-breaking situation has been remarkable.

“When they embarked on their journey it was to buy a defibrillator for our school, what has been achieved is incredible.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign to remember Danii and to her friends and family who have driven it forward.

“Every year we will remember Danii and her family and as a community we recognise the value of life and helping each other through difficult situations.”

The push was spearheaded by pupils Tegan Johnston, Rebecca McComb, Corey Robertson, Mark Battison, Elise Marshall and Nicola Smart.

The group teamed up with the charity Lucky2BHere to secure the defibrillators, whose team also helped show pupils how to use them.

Meanwhile, donations of £1000 apiece will go to Asthma UK, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and the intensive care unit at St John’s Hospital.

A further £600 will be given to Armadale Youth Space to buy a pool table.

Danii’s friend Elise Marshall, 16, spoke to thank everyone who supported the campaign.

She said: “We set out to buy one defibrillator but achieved so much more.

“I was part of a third year art class and we worked together to produce an amazing mosiac which will be a lasting memorial to Danii.

“We will continue to keep Danii’s memory alive through our fundraising and events.”

Lawrence Fitzpatrick, education leader at West Lothian Council, said the “fantastic” campaign would serve as “lasting and positive legacy”.

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk