Gwent Defibbers support group was nominated for a volunteer award and I am very pleased to announce that we have come runner up in the ‘Volunteer of the Year Awards 2017’ thanks to Wales Council for Voluntary Action.
Gwent Defibbers (Tredegar)
A support group for cardiac arrest survivors and their families has been ‘monumental’ in helping its 90-plus members come to terms with living with the condition.
The ‘Gwent Defibbers’ group was set up in 2009 by Mike Morgan – who suffered a cardiac arrest many years ago – and Sandra Davies, whose husband is also a survivor. Also involved in the group are Mike’s wife Lynne, Sandra’s husband Jeff, and Liz, who looks after the website.
‘People who have Cardiac Arrest (CA) have a high risk of experiencing another and are offered an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) – a matchbox-sized device implanted into the chest with lead(s) implanted into the heart,’ said Mandie Welch of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
‘This device can save your life by delivering an electric shock directly to the heart, these shocks can be very painful, and living with this device is known to cause anxiety and depression. Gwent Defibbers has been monumental in helping others come to terms with living with their ICD.’
The group runs a buddy system, where patients have the opportunity to discuss their ICD implant with others who have a device, it has raised funds for defibrillators in public places and has a website offering up to date information for all aspects of living with an ICD.
‘All of this is done on a voluntary basis – the arranging of meetings, venues and speakers is a huge task to take on, but they both do it regardless.’ Mandie Welch added. ‘Mike has recently been diagnosed with severe heart failure, as has Sandra’s husband Jeff, yet they continue to provide their ongoing support to others who need it. They are both inspirational and deserve to be recognised for their ongoing support and hard work.’