A mother is backing the Eastbourne Heart Beat Campaign after her daughter saved her life with CPR. Cheryl Horton-Powell suffered a cardiac arrest and says if it wasn’t for her daughter Jemma she wouldn’t be around today.
Nurse Cheryl, 56, said, “My daughter said I made a funny noise and dropped my coffee, she found me on the floor, I was foaming at the mouth making snoring noises. Then I stopped breathing and she did CPR.”
She said Jemma, who was 20 at the time, had no experience of CPR except learning a bit at Guides.
Cheryl said, “She shouldn’t have been there, she was going to be at the gym but changed her mind at the last minute. It’s thanks to her, she kept my heart pumping blood and getting enough oxygen around my body.”
Cheryl was taken to hospital and placed in a medically-induced coma. She said, “It was 50/50 whether I would survive and they didn’t know what my brain would be like, if I could talk or walk again. I’m extremely lucky.
“One hundred per cent if she hadn’t started CPR it wouldn’t have mattered what the paramedics did, it would have been too late. We have always been close but that’s a special bond.”
“Then I saw her and she was having some sort of seizure. I dragged her out from under the table and called 999.She made a weird noise, then she stopped breathing. I put her in the recovery position and started CPR.
“The lady on the phone was helping me and counting with me. I was grateful I didn’t freeze. It was exhausting, I had to continue until another paramedic arrived. I was fighting for her and giving everything I could."
“Then they used a defibrillator and shocked her a number of times. Then they took her to hospital. They said be careful, when she wakes up she may not be your mum.
“I didn’t know whether I had done it right, I was in shock. You don’t expect that to happen, there was no symptoms or anything.”
Jemma said she would encourage anyone to learn CPR and not be worried about doing anything wrong.
The barber, who also sings part time, said, “You never know when it’s going to happen. As long as you can keep the oxygen going you might be able to save them.
"If you try and save a life you can only do your best, even if you just have an inkling of what to do. I think training needs to be more available though.”
Now Cheryl has an implanted defibrillator which will shock her automatically if she goes into cardiac arrest.
She said, “My family didn’t know if they would get me back or not. Now I’ve got my life back.” She says she supports putting defibrillators ‘everywhere’.
“Once you put the stickers on they tell you what to do,” she said, “People need to not be scared of trying, you can’t do anything wrong. If you can do CPR that’s going to help. It can give so much, you give people a chance of life and keep families together, there’s not a gift more precious.”