November 2013

Information via Chairman Mike….

2013 has been a very busy year both for myself and the group.

I decided this year to return to driving after a break of 9 years! I reapplied for my licence in February and received it in May.

Why did I decide to go back to driving after 9 years?…..  Because I have been “episode free” for several years and this boosted my confidence sufficiently enough for me to reapply for it.

sample licence


I have invited the DVLA to come along to one of our meetings to talk to us about the rules that affect people who have had an ICD fitted.

How things change……

When I had my first IDC fitted 9 years ago I felt very alone and felt that I was the only one in Wales to have to undergo this.  Nine tears later, however, and the University Hospital of Wales fit on average 150 ICD’s (implantable cardioverter defibrillators) a year.

When I was discharged from hospital following this procedure I was given a few sheets of paper with information about what to do / not to do, who to contact etc. This year (2013) our committee decided to publish an information folder which eventually be given to patients who will be having ICD’s fitted.

The group applied for funding from the Big Lottery Fund – Awards for All and was successful in obtaining the funding.

The grant will pay for A4 size folders, contact cards, membership “gwentdefibber” card and an information booklet.

Future pack


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Big Lottery Fund for their financial support and also to Mandie Welch (Arrhythmia nurse at UHW) and Cheryl Palfrey (Cardiac Nurse) based at Pontypool Hospital for their professional input with regards to the information booklet.

As previously reported, GwentDefibbers last years successfully sited 2 AED’s (automatic external defibrillators) in Tredegar town. To date 54 people, ordinary members of the public, have been trained to use these devices.  Recently we had another training session in the Cambrian Hotel which proved very successful – thanks to all involved and all will receive a certificate..


dummy demonstrating AED pads applied to chest


Because of the success in raising awareness of the need for AED’s the Community Council of Tredegar awarded a clock (part of a civil award) to the group as a thank you.

Our secretary, Sandra, has recently made links with The Tommy Cooper Society. This group are currently starting a Tommy Ticker Campaign to raise awareness / purchase AED’s in Caerphilly County Borough.

The Future

The committee have been requested to join the Welsh Ambulance Service – Service Users Group.

We will be attending the Arrhythmia Alliance Patients Day Conference at Birmingham on Sunday 20th October.

We will be visitng local schools to raise awareness of use of AED’s.


What a difference a day makes.

One minute you seem fit and well, the next minute your life changes.

On Wednesday 15th July 2009 my husband Jeff Davies felt unwell. Being a keen marathon runner he had just taken part in the Cosmeston Lakes Relay just outside Penarth, Nr Cardiff.

He had run this race many times.

On the way back to the car he felt his heart racing and it would not slow down.

On the way home he blacked out and so I drove him to the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) where his heart rate reached 210 beats per minute.

He was diagnosed with ARVC  and now has an I.C.D  ( or CID his 24 hour paramedic as it is known to us).

During 2009 Jeff had signed up to do a HNC course  (University of Glamorgan) in building maintenance at Bridgend College.

Having experienced a blackout he had submitted his driving licence voluntarily back to the D.V.L.A. which meant that he had to use public transport to travel from Caerphilly to Bridgend to attend his course. His return home was lucky because fellow students gave him lifts and a BIG THANK YOU to them for helping him during this time.

On Friday 25th July 2011 (2 years after having an ICD fitted) he was awarded his HNC qualification and a student of the year award at an award ceremony at University of Glamorgan.

What a very proud day with lots of memories and photographs.

In 2010 Jeff, myself and our son Jonathon took part in the BHF Gower Bike Ride completing the shortest distance and raised funds for the B.H.F. Jeff and I took part in the  Gower Bike Ride  again this year and completed the 209 mile route this time.

We have supported a request from Mandie Welch (Arrhythmia Nurse Specialist at UHW) to talk to people who have a defibrillator to discuss their anxieties.

Sandra Davies (Gwentdefibbers Secretary)