WHEN Steven Dwyer was effectively dead for 25 minutes after suffering a cardiac arrest there was only one thing which saved his life — a defibrillator.
And as a thank you he has raised more than £500 for one of the machines to be donated to Kearsley Academy, formerly George Tomlinson School, where he was a pupil in the 1970’s.
Mr Dwyer, aged 52, of Kearsley, who suffered the cardiac arrest in 2012, said: “Up until I had a cardiac arrest, I would never have envisaged understanding what a defibrillator did. It’s impossible to put into words how grateful I am for having had that defibrillator at the hospital — you would never know how emotional an experience it was for me.
“I only went to hospital for a check-up and then I just dropped dead. The nurses said to me afterwards that if there hadn’t have been a defibrillator there, I wouldn’t have made it.”
All four primary schools in the area have now received a defibrillator from Cardiac Defibrillator (ICD) Support Group.
Mr Dwyer added: “It’s fantastic that all four schools in Kearsley have now got defibrillators. You read all sorts of stories about young people suffering cardiac arrests — if it can happen to you at 50, it can happen to you at any age.”
In raising the money required to purchase a defibrillator, Mr Dwyer and his wife asked people for donations, rather than presents, to mark their 30th wedding anniversary.
Bolton ICD Support Group’s fundraising manager Tracey Wilkinson said: “Steven’s story is amazing — I’ve never heard a story like that. For him to go on and support our charity like he has is just incredible.
“His story is a case of being in the right place at the right time, because without the defibrillator he wouldn’t have survived.”
Mrs Wilkinson has herself donated a defibrillator to her former school, as she used to attend Spindle Point as a youngster.
She said: “I’m really chuffed that all four Kearsley primary schools have defibrillators, because I’m a Kearsley girl. The Spindle Point donation was very emotional for me, as an ex-pupil.
“We have got a lot of schools getting in touch with us and we have 16 spaces on our waiting list, which is very encouraging.
“Defibrillators are not only vital for use in schools, they can also be used by members of the community in the event of an emergency in Kearsley.”
Over the last couple of years, Bolton ICD Support Group has donated defibrillators to 62 schools, sports clubs and community groups across the borough.
The group is aiming to have donated 100 defibrillators by the end of next year and Mrs Wilkinson says she wants to eventually have defibrillators in all 121 schools in Bolton.
Any schools or sports clubs who want to enter the waiting list for a defibrillator can email firstname.lastname@example.org.