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Welsh Rugby Union are helping to spearhead a campaign for the widespread provision of defibrillators across Wales.

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Sam Warburton pictured with ‘Dai Fib’ Dai Fibrillator, is the mascot of a new heart charity in Wales, Welsh Hearts.

‘Shocking’ statistics state that the survival rate after a sudden Cardiac arrest outside of hospital is only 3%. Where a Defibrillator is used, the survival rate is 47%. In Wales there are approximately 8,000 sudden cardiac arrests outside hospital each year.

Welsh Hearts want to raise funds across Wales in rural communities, work place and schools in order that a defibrillator is positioned next to every fire extinguisher in Wales.

Welsh Hearts Charity Director Sharon Owen said “There are not enough defibrillators in Wales or trained people to give victims the best chance of survival during those first few critical minutes.

“We hope the defibrillators never have to be used, but if they are used many lives in Wales will be saved as a consequence. When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drop by up to 14% for every minute that passes, so a speedy response is crucial. Early defibrillation – within four to five minutes – gives the best possible chance of survival.”

The Welsh Rugby Union has linked up with the charity Welsh Hearts with the aim of providing live-saving defibrillator devices to as many of its 320-member clubs as possible.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis, who is a patron of the Welsh Hearts charity, said: “In this special initiative Welsh Hearts are teaming up with the WRU with the aim of providing a defibrillator to the hundreds of rugby clubs throughout Wales. We need our clubs to get involved with fundraising for this worthwhile cause and in return the charity will provide the life-saving equipment.”

Sharon went on to say “With access to more defibrillators, Welsh Hearts can help our partners in the emergency services to improve chances of survival and protect our communities. Someone in cardiac arrest will lose consciousness, will not be breathing and will have no signs of circulation. A defibrillator is used to shock the heart following a cardiac arrest.”

“At present there are only 450 defibrillators in Wales compared to 9000 in England! We hope that Welsh Hearts will change that!

“This can only be made possible through donations of time and money and there are so many ways that people can fundraise for us from organising a coffee morning, Balls, Zumba Challenge, Concert, golf days - in fact just about anything goes! Please get in touch if you can help!

“We are proud to of the fact that All money raised in Wales will be spent in Wales. Help us to save more lives in Wales. “


Welsh Hearts is also fundraising for cardiac equipment for hospitals and Medical Centres and supporting heart initiatives throughout Wales.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for a third of all deaths in Wales, where the death rate is higher than in the majority of countries in Western Europe.

Welsh Hearts is also keen to support research students wishing to follow a career in Cardiology research by making grants available for them to pursue postgraduate degrees.

Sharon Owen was inspired to set up Welsh Hearts because following a routine check up with her GP at the age of 11 she was told she had a heart murmur. Sharon started her fundraising whilst attending Heathfield House school where she was organizing events involving the whole school. Now 47, Sharon has worked for many charities in Wales, but feels that Welsh Hearts was the right thing to do at the right time in her life! She is giving something back to Wales. Sharon’s Nan and Grandfather both died of heart disease. “It’s been hard work and quite a challenge at times, but after nine months we got there! I thank everyone who has helped put Welsh Hearts on the map. There is so much work for us to do ……”

Contact Welsh Hearts Fundraising Office on 02920 786521 or email fundraising@welshhearts.org

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