11 June 2020

On the 17th November 2018 at the age of 28 I had a sudden cardiac arrest in front of my 2 year old daughter at our home. Luckily my husband was at home and gave me CPR for 15 minutes before the ambulance arrived and used a defibrillator to shock my heart. I was taken to The Bristol Heart Institute where my family were told I had a 50% chance of surviving. I was in a coma for 3 days in intensive care and spent a further 2 weeks in hospital recovering. I was also fitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) should it ever happen to me again. I made a full recovery but no cause was ever found for my cardiac arrest.  I was back to work the following week, with no lasting complications or effects from my arrest and after 12 years together my life saver and I eloped with our daughter to Cornwall to get married the following April.


I strongly believe that defibrillators should be everywhere! From experience I know that a cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any time and at any age, with no known heart problems or risk factors. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are only 8% but improve dramatically with early AED intervention.  If we have defibrillators everywhere then everyone stands the best possible chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.

Before this happened to me, I wasn’t aware at all of defibrillators and the use of them in the community. Having had a cardiac arrest and knowing that a defibrillator was used to save my life and shock my heart back into action (in combination with CPR from my superhero husband of course!) I know that I wouldn’t be here without one. I was very lucky that my husband was there to give me excellent CPR and that the ambulance arrived so quickly but I know that others won’t be so lucky and that having a defibrillator close by is so important.  

My advice to anyone thinking about raising money for a local cause would be that you should definitely think about putting that money into buying a defibrillator. It is such an essential piece of life saving equipment that benefits the whole community and one day it could be used to save your life or the life of a loved one.

I have had an excellent experience with London Hearts, when we started our fundraising we had no experience with defibrillators or where to buy one. London Hearts were so helpful and were there to answer any questions we had. The training we had provided for free was fantastic and we all had a great afternoon learning how to use the defibrillator, we were left feeling confident that should we need to use it we would know exactly what to do!


Thank you so much London Hearts!


Sophie Popplewell

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