A devastated mother has sent a warning to people after her daughter went swimming and “never returned”.
Gilly Atkinson (51), a Poulton-le–Flyde resident, has asked people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heart disease after Laura West, a 29-year old, died April 16.
Laura, who had been an army medic for eight years, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest when swimming at Lancaster University’s swimming pool, reports Lancs Live.
Gilly said: “Everybody loved her, and I’m not just saying it because she’s my daughter, everyone that met her, there’s not been one bad word said against her.”
She also issued a heartfelt warning: “Any dizziness, light-headedness or feeling a bit weak, maybe after a jog, or being a bit out of breath or feeling a bit lightheaded after doing something untoward, don’t ignore it, get checked it because these underlying conditions they come out of the blue after exertion.”
“I’d hate for another family to go through what we’ve been through, and it’s not just the family that have been affected, it’s the army too because they’re like a family unit in themselves,” She added.
“The general public can use these units and it states on the unit themselves how to use them, in the matter of a cardiac arrest time is of the essence on how quick you use them.”
Gilly used Christian Eriksen, Denmark’s midfielder, as an example. Both Laura and the footballer were in their twenties when they both suffered cardiac arrests.
Gilly said: “With how quickly he was treated on the pitch, he’s lucky to be here today.
“Eriksen is a prime example of how important defibrillators are, the quicker you shock someone, the quicker you can bring them back to life and its so important in a cardiac arrest.
“He has a chance to live now and his heart condition can be looked after for the rest of his life. My daughter was found to have a heart condition, and she could have been treated for the rest of her life and it’s so important now.”
The cause of Laura’s death was an underlying heart condition known as ARVC, a disease which causes fatty tissues to replace the normal heart muscle. It can disrupt normal electrical signals, which can cause irregular heart rhythms that could be potentially fatal.
Gilly wanted to remind people that defibrillators can be most effective if they are administered within three minutes after symptoms begin.
Gilly said: “Defibrillators are so close to my heart now and we do need to get as many out there as possible, but there’s not enough funding.
“It’s not just old people that suffer heart problems, it can start from an early age. It is a genetic condition that she has inherited from me. We are currently waiting to see if gene testing can be done for my boys.
“It’s so important we get this out there so people know, don’t ignore signs and symptoms.”
You can donate to the fundraiser for a defibrillator here.
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