COMMONWEALTH Games heroes Lynsey Sharp and Josh Taylor have raced to back our campaign to install life-saving defibrillators in sports clubs across the region.
The medal-winning athletes led the charge on social media by posting selfies in support of the Shockingly Easy campaign, which was launched in July in memory of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest on a Saughton football pitch.
Silver medal-winning runner Lynsey, an Edinburgh Napier University graduate, said: “Defibrillators are very important because they can make the difference between life and death and the more there are, the potential for saving lives is greater.”
Prestonpans boxer Josh, who picked up a gold medal at this summer’s Games in Glasgow, gave his backing by posing for a picture on social media.
World champion featherweight fighter Alex Arthur also promised to back the campaign, which is being run in partnership with the Jamie Skinner Foundation.
Selfies have been pouring in on social media as our Christmas appeal to raise awareness gathers momentum – and we want you to share your pictures too.
We are not asking you for money – we are asking for you to spread the word about these life-saving devices which can double a casualty’s chances of survival if they suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital.
Hearts and Hibs have put aside their rivalry to back our drive to buy the vital kit, which has raised more than £30,000 – or the equivalent of 20 defibrillators.
A Hearts spokesman said: “The club is acutely aware of the importance of defibrillators, and in fact we have two located at Tynecastle Stadium.
“Installing them is such a simple thing and it really can save lives. We need more defibrillators in public places and more people trained how to use them.”
The club are “delighted” to back the campaign in memory of Jamie, who played for Tynecastle FC under 14s team.
The spokesman added: “Jamie was a talented young footballer and by backing this campaign we hope that further tragedies can be prevented.”
Hibs players have also thrown their weight behind the campaign by urging all sports clubs in Edinburgh and the Lothians to get involved.
A Hibernian spokesperson said: “Hibernian are pleased to support the Evening News’ Shockingly Easy campaign – ultimately the aim is to help to save lives.
“Our club has defibrillators in place at both our training centre and at Easter Road Stadium and we urge all sports clubs in Edinburgh and the Lothians to fully back this worthwhile campaign.”
Radio Forth DJ and pantomime dame Grant Stott has taken the pledge, joining veteran Meadowbank athletics coach Bill Walker in spreading the word.
Politicians have offered to take the fight to Holyrood and Westminster with support coming in from Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone, Malcolm Chisholm MSP for Edinburgh North and Leith, Marco Biagi MSP for Edinburgh Central and Lothian MSP Cameron Buchanan.
“The sudden death of Jamie Skinner traumatised the local community, but we must use this tragedy to ensure all sports clubs have a defibrillator and training in place,” said Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South.
“Too many young lives are lost through undiagnosed cardiac conditions and defibrillators could help save those lives.”
Ultra marathon runner Dr Andrew Murray welcomed the campaign after seeing the vital machines in action many times in his work as a GP.
Dr Murray, who also works as a sports and medicine consultant at Edinburgh University, said: “I personally welcome the Shockingly Easy campaign. It will save lives in the Lothians.
“I have personally seen people’s lives being saved by the presence of defibrillators and people training in CPR. It absolutely makes a difference.
“And I’d urge people, sports clubs and leisure centres to get right behind this important campaign.”
The urgent need for widespread access to defibrillators has been echoed by the British Heart Foundation Scotland, which said it was “vital” everyone knew what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest.
Marjory Burns, director at British Heart Foundation Scotland, said:“This includes calling 999 immediately, performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and having access to a defibrillator as soon as possible.
“When someone has a cardiac arrest their chances of survival decrease with every passing minute. The more people who are trained in what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest, the more lives we can save in the future.”
To support the Shockingly Easy campaign simply draw a heart on a piece of paper – alongside the words Shockingly Easy – and send it to www.facebook.com/edinburgheveningnews or tweet us at @edinburghpaper.
Every week in the UK, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people aged 35 and under die from undiagnosed cardiac conditions.
‘Parents are happy we have one’
MORE than 100 young footballers will be in safe hands after a defibrillator was installed at their clubhouse.
Easthouses FC have snapped up a piece of the vital kit since reaching their £2000 target in October.
Stuart Maclean, chairman of Easthouses FC, said: “We read the sad story regarding the young boy Jamie who passed away and we decided we should get in touch with the Evening News about the campaign.”
The club – which has 12 teams on its books – was given £250 from Scotmid after the supermarket giant pledged to back the Shockingly Easy campaign with £250 grants for 11 clubs located near its stores.
Midlothian East independent councillor Peter de Vink also donated half the cost of the shock box while Easthouses parents and supporters raised the rest of the cash by taking part in a sponsored walk and various fundraising events.
Mr Maclean said: “The parents have been fantastic and they are all really happy that we have now got one on site.
“Lots of clubs are realising they need them and it is good we already have one now.”
IN MEMORY OF JAMIE
THE News has joined the family of Jamie Skinner in launching the Shockingly Easy campaign. We hope to ensure there is a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre. Here’s how to help:
• Raise the issue with the committee of your local sports club and ask them to support the campaign.
• Learn CPR skills or volunteer to host a training session at your club. If you can help, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• If you already have a defibrillator, please let us know too, so you can be added to the ambulance services’ defibrillator map of the Lothians.
• On social media, find out how to show your support at edinburghnews.com.
• If you want to make a donation, cheques payable to The Jamie Skinner Foundation can be sent to Shockingly Easy, Edinburgh Evening News, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, EH4 2HS. Donate online at fundrazr.com, search for Jamie Skinner.