The family of a man who went into cardiac arrest at his home in Lurgan have raised thousands for Northern Ireland's Air Ambulance to thank them for saving the life of the father-of-three.
The family have now presented the Air Ambulance team with funds of over £17,339 to express their gratitude, raised through fundraising nights, raffles and a spinathon.
It's after Ryan Nelson (43) arrived home on August 9 with a coffee for his wife Vivienne when he went into sudden cardiac arrest on his doorstep, falling unconscious and becoming unresponsive at the scene.
His son Corey (15) called the emergency services and administered CPR in a heroic effort to save his father, who was otherwise fit and healthy and who loved football and being outdoors.
He was helped by neighbours Michael McLoughlin and nurse Siobhan Totton until ambulance service road paramedics arrived, followed by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) team. A defibrillator was used to shock Ryan’s heart as the HEMS team provided further critical care within minutes of the team's arrival.
When his condition stabilised, Ryan was taken by Air Ambulance to Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital for further treatment and care.
He was fitted with an Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD device) and is now recovering well and slowly adapting to life.
The husband and father is grateful to be at home with his wife Vivienne and son Corey, as well as daughters, Hollie (13) and Evie (9).
Ryan said the message he wants to send is to encourage the public to learn about CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
Speaking of the incident, Ryan said: "I’ve heard that only 1 in 10 people suffering a cardiac arrest outside of hospital survive, so the odds were against me. CPR really made the difference, and I would like to encourage everyone to learn about CPR and familiarise themselves with defibrillators, as you never know when it could be needed.
"I will be forever grateful to the chain of people involved in saving my life that day. The quick response from my family, neighbours, paramedics, and the HEMS team was critical and I am extremely fortunate to come through this ordeal," he said.
Ryan’s wife Vivienne said she never thought her family would need the assistance of the air ambulance. "Ryan was a normal healthy 43-year-old with no previous health issues or problems," she said.
"Witnessing a cardiac arrest has been the most traumatic experience my family have ever had. But if not for the chain of events that day Ryan wouldn’t be here now. I am forever grateful to everyone involved that day and in particular to the HEMS team for the lifesaving treatment they provided on my doorstep.’’
The gratitude of the family spurred them on to raise funds for the Air Ambulance to ensure the service is available to others in the future.
They started a Mission Critical appeal on Just Giving and Facebook to tell their story and held events including the spinathon by Ryan's sister Roisin Wilkinson held at Spar in Aghagallon. Vivienne's best friend Laura McConville took part in the Belfast City Marathon.
Vivienne thanked those who helped out or donated for their support. “People have been incredibly kind and generous. We have been gifted so much locally through businesses, people getting in touch through Facebook wanting to support the charity, family members getting support through their workplaces and so many people contacting us telling their own stories of being helped by the HEMS team at Air Ambulance NI.”