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Our Story

Carly’s Story by Carly’s Dad Marco

Carly had been helping her sister Jodie for virtually 18 months to plan the wedding of a lifetime. The flowers, the music, the food, the bridesmaids then the page boy suits, the usher’s suits, the invitations, the list goes on. I remember so well going to see my daughter in her beautiful dress. When she had it fitted she looked stunning in it. The meetings with the florist, deciding what we were all going to have to eat that day. Month by month, week by week ever closer to that very special day.

Finally, that day came everyone was on form that day all looking forward to a wonderful day. Carly was happy and looking so lovely in her maid of honour dress. Smiles, happy faces and nerves is how I remember that morning. Then finally that moment everyone was waiting for, the bride to walk down the aisle with the wedding party. At that moment the last thing on all our minds was what was about to happen next.

Jodie was on my arm, the bridesmaids and page boys including Carly’s two boys Ronnie and Harry had walked down the aisle. We had just got to the end of the aisle, Alfie, Jodie’s husband to be was there waiting looking immaculate. Then within a click of a finger all had changed. Carly had collapsed in her seat. Within a minute we had all realized something was very wrong, where I was supposed to be giving away my daughter Jodie. My daughter Carly was gone, tears of joy had turned to tears of fear and despair. My whole world had been ripped from me.

Within two minutes Sue, a guest and school teacher was giving CPR to Carly. Anne, Carly’s Mum had screamed out for someone to get a defibrillator. Thankfully the hotel had a defibrillator. We later came to realise this had saved Carly’s life along with the CPR that was given by Sue, then David and Peter also stepped in who are Carly’s Cousins. By some miracle Carly’s cousins had had First Aid training only 2 weeks previously.

David was able to administer the defibrillator, Peter also gave CPR, in fact in the early stages my son Danny also gave CPR. I just looked on with a fear I have never felt before, hearing all the crying and the screaming and the total feeling of loss and helplessness. It’s a feeling I will never ever forget. Seeing my Mum in bits, seeing Jodie, my sister, the whole family in total disarray is something you should never have to live through, hearing the defibrillator say stand clear, then shocks given. I will never forget those words but those words, that defibrillator saved Carly’s life and of course the CPR that was given by the First Aiders.

The ambulance and medics came within 8 minutes and what a relief it was when I saw them. We are so lucky to have such a great ambulance service. Within minutes Carly was at St. Thomas hospital in intensive care.It was not until 1am the next morning that Carly came out of her coma. That was the longest evening of my life. It was for all of the family not knowing what was going to happen. Carly had made it, Carly had survived the cardiac arrest and over the next 4 weeks made an “incredible recovery” – words of the great staff at St. Thomas’s Hospital. We all hoped and prayed all day and all night and the days to come that Carly would make a full recovery and Carly did. We were told that the immediate CPR given and shock by the defibrillator was why Carly had made such a great initial recovery. In fact, we were told by the staff at St. Thomas they have never ever seen such a speedy recovery time out of a coma.

There is a journey of recovery that is still going on but all made possible because of two things; a defibrillator and people who were first aid trained and that’s what has inspired everybody involved in this charity and we hope will inspire you to help and support this cause.