Jogger describes Market Deeping pair as heroes after they save his life following cardiac arrest

A man whose life was saved by two Market Deeping friends has labelled the pair as heroes.

Monday, 4th October 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Monday, 4th October 2021, 4:06 pm

Jennifer Taylor and Luke Avis, were both named as a CPR Hero at the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) virtual Heart Hero Awards, after being nominated by the man whose life they saved.

Jennifer, aged 34, was driving home on July 27 last year when she saw a group of people near Robbie Reed, who was unconscious on the pavement in Tattershall Drive in Market Deeping.

Robbie had been out for a run when he had a cardiac arrest. This meant Robbie’s heart suddenly stopped pumping blood around his body, causing him to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

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Luke, Robbie and Jennifer

Jennifer - a mum of one - said: “I thought someone had been hit by a car, so I wound my window down to ask what was going on and a man told me that they had found him collapsed and had called an ambulance.

“I asked if he was breathing and they said they didn’t know, and I knew then that I couldn’t leave Robbie on his own and needed to do something. I parked my car up and then ran over to Robbie and began chest compressions. All that was going through my mind was that I needed to make the heart pump again.”

Whilst doing CPR, Jennifer noticed friend Luke – who was out on a run – pass nearby. Jennifer shouted Luke over to help and he sprang into action, taking over applying chest compressions whilst Jennifer liaised with the 999 call handler.

Luke, aged 34, said: “There were a few people around at the time, but I think everyone was just frozen by the situation. I felt very similarly to Jen, in that I couldn’t just walk by and leave Robbie on his own, and that I needed to help.”

Paramedics arrived on the scene just minutes later and used a defibrillator to shock Robbie’s heart. He was rushed to Lincoln County Hospital and placed in an induced coma, and he later underwent a procedure to fit stents.

Robbie, aged 57 and from Market Deeping, said: “I can never repay Jennifer and Luke for what they’ve done.

“Without them, I simply wouldn’t be here. It has been and would have had a massive detrimental impact on my whole family, so for me, they saved more than just my life that day.

“They truly are my heroes and I’m so proud that they have accepted the CPR Hero award.”

Although Robbie has no recollection of the day of his cardiac arrest, he has slowly been able to get back onto his feet, and for that he credits Luke and Jennifer’s life saving actions.

Robbie was inspired to nominate Jennifer and Luke for the BHF’s CPR Hero Award, which recognises those who have helped save a life. The friends were announced as two winners of the award at the BHF’s Heart Hero Awards on Wednesday 29th September.

Jennifer, who works as a contracts manager and had learned CPR through work, said: “It still feels so surreal.

“I didn’t do this for any recognition, though - it was a split-second decision to start CPR, but luckily it’s resulted in Robbie still being with us today. That’s the best thing I could have ever asked for.

“It also shows how important it is to learn CPR. Having those invaluable skills meant I could step in and help when Robbie needed it the most.”

Luke, who works as a focused improvement manager, added: “It’s so nice to be nominated and I really appreciate being recognised by the BHF.

“The most rewarding thing for me was when Robbie visited me after being discharged from hospital. I’m just really thankful that he made a full recovery and that I was able to help him when he needed it.”

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “We are just so proud to recognise Jennifer and Luke with this award honouring their truly life saving actions.

“It is also a powerful reminder of why CPR skills are so important for all of us. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest out of hospital falls by a devastating 10 per cent.

“The most important thing to remember is that you must act when someone suffers a cardiac arrest. Call 999, start CPR immediately, and ask someone to bring the nearest defibrillator if one is close by. These simple actions could help save a life.”

The BHF’s Heart Hero Awards are held each year to recognise the brave individuals dedicated to help beat heartbreak forever. The event showcases inspiring people who have shown courage, resilience, compassion and bravery in the face of adversity, and this year included appearances from celebrity guests including host Vernon Kay.

This year’s event, which was supported by Laerdal Medical and hosted live on YouTube, was also held on World Heart Day.