22 August 2022
Naomi, the inspiring lady behind OurJay Foundation is requesting that 20 defibrillators be installed in her Warwickshire hometown, after her teenager son went into cardiac arrest and sadly passed away. We reached out to Naomi earlier on in the year to offer our support with the provision of heart defibrillators and to offer free online CPR and defibrillator training.
18-year-old Jamie Rees, collapsed in the early hours of New Year's Day last year - and the nearest defibrillator was unfortauntley locked away.
Defibrillators (also known as AEDs - Automatic External Defibrillators) are medical devices that help and support a patient in cardiac arrest. In fact, they are the ONLY devices that can help when someone has a cardiac arrest.
He was at a friend's house when he suffered an unexplained cardiac arrest and sadly died at University Hospital Coventry five days later. The nearest available ambulance crew was stationed miles away and didn't reach Jamie for more than 17 minutes.
His friends were forced to perform CPR in a desperate attempt to save him, as the nearest available defibrillator was locked away in Jamie's old school, which could not be accessed in the middle of the night or the holidays. By the time paramedics were at Jamie's side, his brain had been starved of oxygen and he had virtually no chance of survival.
External cabinets can be locked or unlocked, and will help protect your defibrillator from the elements aswell as making it accessible to the public, ensuring it is rescue ready in the crucial moment you need it. Thermostatically controlled heating means the heating kicks in when the temperature drops outside, keeping your defib at the optimal temperature.
West Midlands Ambulance Service previously apologised to Jamie's family for the delay and said the New Year period was exceptionally busy.
But his relatives have now established a fundraiser, OurJay, to equip the former Rugby College student's hometown with 20 defibrillators – with more across Warwickshire in the pipeline.
Jamie's mum Naomi Rees-Issitt, 43, said: "It wasn’t until we lost Jamie we realised how few defibrillators there are. There are defibs out there are locked in buildings.
"You can’t pre-plan your cardiac arrest. Defibrillator's that are locked in buildings are pretty pointless.
"There was a defib nearby but it was locked in his old high school. With the ambulance delays and the defib locked away, his friends were trying hard with CPR. It was six weeks after his 18th.
"He’d been at his friend Nathan’s house just welcoming in the new year. He watched some fireworks going off nearby.
"They were standing in the garage and having a dance. Jamie turned to one of his friends and said he felt a bit funny.
"He sat down by a tree and he slumped over and they noticed he wasn’t breathing. His other friend Josh started CPR on Jamie, and Nathan's mum called 999. Josh also called 999 and the dispatcher talked him through it.
"The ambulance pulled up at 17.5 minutes and there were at Jamie’s side at 19.5 minutes as they were putting on PPE. Up until September last year we had standby ambulances in Rugby.
"The nearest ambulance was 15 miles away in Coventry the night Jamie died, hence why it took so long. We don’t blame the ambulance crew, we understand it was a busy night."
Naomi added: "If you reach a person in cardiac arrest in seven minutes the chances of getting his heart beating again is 70%. Jamie didn’t die from cardiac arrest, it was the oxygen starvation.
"He died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome. Jamie, sadly, didn’t stand a chance. Jamie won’t be the last one, if anything it’s getting worse."
But what started with just the one defibrillator has now turned into an incredible 20 installations due to the amount of local support the family has received.
The Defibrillator we supply which is ideal for people of all ages is the advanced dual functioning Mindray C1A semi-automatic Defibrillator. Not only does this model carry out daily self-diagnostic tests, meaning maintenance is extremely limited but more importantly this model can be applied to both an adult and a child at the flick of a switch rather than having to waste time changing the pads. With every Defibrillator we supply we provide free online training.
Naomi added: "Jamie was the best lad, he put everything in. He was going to be a plumber.
"He loved everyone and everyone loved him. He loved life, animals, his computer and his family.
"It's called the OurJay foundation and we're setting it up as a charity.
"We started funding for money to set up a defibrillator outside a school. We set up Jamie's JustGiving on January 26.
"By the 27th, we'd raised £3,000. Jamie was really loved by members of his college and his friends.
"We set up Jamie's JustGiving on January 26. By the 27th, we’d raised £3,000. Jamie was really loved by members of his college, his friends.
"We realised we surpassed one defibrillator and thought, 'let's carry on'. We went up and up.
"I put a post out to businesses at Rugby for raffle prizes. We gave away holidays, meals - 65 prizes.
"We're still going up and up. Now we want to get 20 [defibrillators] installed by January 5, 2023, the one-year anniversary.
"We've done a bingo night - £6,175 was raised on August 5. Toyota donated £400 after doing a fundraising event.
"We've had people with long hair being chopped off. We have a skydive with my sister and her husband with the British Army Parachute regiment coming up too.
"We’re all pretty exhausted. It's blown everyone away, the support has been amazing.
"We can’t thank people enough but we’re hopefully giving something back to Rugby. These defibs, we get a grant for each one from London Hearts."
"All our defibs are done by an electrician in Rugby, Top Marks, who offered to do it for free. Some of the businesses in Rugby are unbelievable with the support."
Naomi also said: "It's such a minor amount of money to save a life. All our defibs are done by an electrician in Rugby, Top Marks, who offered to do it for free.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesperson told the Birmingham Mail previously: "We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Jamie Rees and apologise for the delay in responding on New Year's Day.
"New Year's Day was the busiest the trust has ever experienced, nearly a quarter busier than the previous busiest New Year's Day.
"In Rugby, in the 90 minutes before we received the first 999 call to Jamie, there had been three other emergency calls, which would have meant any ambulances based in the town would already have been with patients. So we sent the nearest available ambulance.
"The closure of community ambulance stations, including the one in Rugby, is allowing us to respond to between 5,000 and 6,000 more patients than we would previously have been able to; allowing us to get to more patients, more quickly than before.
"Unfortunately, the whole of the NHS remains under severe pressure and long hospital handover delays do mean patients are waiting longer for an ambulance.
"Our staff and volunteers continue to work tirelessly to provide the best patient care we can. In recent months we have increased the number of call handlers, frontline staff and community first responders as well as introducing measures to allow us to get to the most seriously injured and unwell patients as soon as possible."
We are beyond honoured that we can help supply such important and lifesaving equipment to support OurJay fundraisers spread awareness of public access defibrillators and cardiac arrest.
We welcome applications from any organisation or charity around the UK! Apply online here
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