Belfast Telegraph

Lightning strike man campaigns for more Northern Ireland defibrillators

By Staff Reporter

A Lisburn man has spoken about his miracle recovery after surviving a lightning strike last year.

Geordie Allen had been attending a sports day at his children's school when a sudden rainstorm made parents, teachers and students run for cover - but Geordie was struck by a lightning bolt in the freak incident.

"Now I don't even try to remember," he told BBC Radio Ulster's The Sunday News programme yesterday.

"I did try and remember it at the start.

"I don't any more.

"There's a reason why I forgot it. It's obvious why I forgot it."

The 37-year-old had been with his five-year-old son, Geordie, and seven-year-old daughter, Georgha, when he was struck, and both of his children were also hospitalised with less severe injuries.

Geordie spent a month in a coma after the accident at Killowen Primary School.

He explained that, after awakening from the coma, he couldn't remember large chunks of his life.

"When I woke up I was in my 20s, I thought I was only 20-something," he said.

"I thought I only had one child.

"I didn't even know I was married.

"I lost 10 years of my life, do you know what I mean?

"I was really confused.

"I was looking around at people like, 'Who is everybody here?'"

His wife Sharon was first told about the incident while she was at home, and didn't initially realise that it was her husband who had been injured. "I was actually told it was just the kids... I had no idea that it was Geordie until I actually got to the school," she said.

"The parents and the teachers, did so much that day, they really did.

"I have no words.

"I don't even know how to thank them.

"I walk into that school with my head down. I can't look at anybody because I don't know how to thank them," Sharon added. Geordie and Sharon explained that crucial to his survival that day was that the primary school had a defibrillator on hand.

The couple have said that they now plan to mount a campaign to make sure that this life-saving apparatus is made more widely available.

"It's a miracle that he has survived, and if we didn't have those defibrillators that day he wouldn't be sitting here, I would have lost my husband and the kids would have lost their father," said Sharon.

While he is now well on the road to recovery, Geordie was initially told by doctors that he would never walk again - but this was something that he simply wasn't willing to accept. "I was going to go on until I hit my wall," he commented, "and I haven't hit my wall yet, thankfully, so I try and prove people wrong."

"There's pain behind everything, but it's either that or six feet under.

"So you try not to complain about the pain, my goal now is just to get up on my feet and just to have a normal life," he added.

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