A teen hockey player is campaigning for more young people to be educated on CPR and defibrillator use in Northern Ireland.
Anna Pim plays for Methodist College Belfast and will be competing in the Schools Cup on Wednesday when both finalists will be “wearing their heart on their sleeves” in support of Anna’s project.
Pim also plays for Pegasus Hockey Club, Ulster under 18’s and is a member of the Ulster Hockey Youth Forum. She has also been a member of St John Ambulance since she was 10.
Several years ago, a member of her rowing club suffered a cardiac arrest on the River Lagan in Belfast. “The swift and skilful treatment he received, in the first instance CPR, undoubtably saved his life. He survived, but many don’t,” she says.
There are 1,400 cardiac arrests reported outside of the hospital setting every year in Northern Ireland. Anna was 13 at the time of the incident and remembers thinking, if she had been there, whether she would have had the confidence to perform CPR.
She says: “During lockdown, I worked on an idea of delivering an awareness campaign to educate young people through CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator). I reached out to St John Ambulance and Ulster Hockey about my project, and I was met with real enthusiasm and support. George Best Belfast City Airport embraced my idea and has come on board as my partner.”
The ‘At the Heart of the Game’ campaign was born, with the key objective to educate youth through CPR and AED awareness throughout Northern Ireland.
Pim says: “I want to make sure as many people as possible know that when someone collapses and stops breathing normally, it is important to quickly call 999, perform hands-only CPR and use a defibrillator.
“I also aim to raise vital funds to provide AED trainers for St John Ambulance cadet divisions within these club areas and in doing so increase the number of people trained within these communities.”
Lady Mary Peters and Dr Shirley McCay, Ireland’s most capped international, agreed to be ambassadors for the campaign.