Comment: ‘Together we can save more like Shaun’

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the story of how 19-year-old Shaun Hodgson almost lost his life will sound alarmingly familiar to regular readers of this newspaper.

An extremely fit young man, he collapsed when he was exercising and went into cardiac arrest. There had been no warning signs that his heart might be vulnerable.

The traumatic turn of events has terrible echoes of what happened to 13-year-old football starlet Jamie Skinner.

Unlike Jamie, Shaun was lucky enough to survive.

That was the result of two things: the quick thinking of off-duty police officer Freya Cowan who administered CPR to the 19-year-old, and the fact that he was treated very quickly with a defibrillator heart start machine.

Quick action is crucial whenever someone has a heart attack. Around 60,000 people every year suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK.

And every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by ten per cent.

That is why the Evening News is working with Jamie’s family to put a defibrillator machine in every sports club in the Lothians.

These machines will save lives – and not just those of sports centre users.

Putting them in our communities and making them available to all means there is far more chance of getting hold of one when an emergency strikes.

We can only do this though with your support.

The response to the Shockingly Easy campaign so far has been overwhelming – but we need more help.

We need more sports clubs to volunteer to host a defibrillator in their community. And we need more people to donate and organise fundraising events. Full details of how you can help are on page five.

Please help if you can. Together we can save more people like Shaun Hodgson.