Blog entry by Olivia Warwick

Anyone in the world

Picture of Joe Humphries and the JHMT logo

Whilst out jogging with his friend, aged only 14, Joe Humphries suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). He had no knowledge of any underlying heart condition.

The Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT) was founded in 2012, after the tragic loss of Joe. JHMT seeks to raise awareness and understanding of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADs), create a new generation of lifesavers, and inspire young people.

This blog has been written by Joe’s dad and founder of the trust, Steve Humphries with support from Martin Johnson CBE, trust patron. It includes links to further useful information on the importance of SCA awareness and preventative measures.

Picture of Steve Humphries, some people completing CPR training and a wall mounted defibrillator.

At least 12 young people under 35 in the UK die every week from SCA. Many of these deaths are due to inherited heart conditions (SADS). 80% of people affected have no warning. There are also over 30,000 witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) a year where emergency workers attempt to resuscitate. Despite this, just 1 in 10 people in the UK survive an OHCA.  

Each day, people die because others don't have the confidence or knowledge to perform CPR and defibrillation.  Some of these deaths are preventable and can be reduced through better education and awareness.

Fuelled by the devastating loss of Joe, and frequent reminders that SADS is affecting many more families every week, JHMT was created with the aim of driving awareness and education to reduce the chances of other families losing their children without warning. JHMT provide free CPR and defibrillator training, help to provide community defibrillators, and run a local small grants scheme for inspirational young people.

At the point of collapse, from a SCA, immediate commencement of CPR and defibrillation can increase someone’s chances of survival from 6% to 74% (JHMT, Importance of CPR and AED).

Awareness is key, but is just the start of a process that needs to be followed:

  • Identify SCA (the person is unconscious and not breathing/not breathing properly).
  • Call 999.
  •  Start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
  • Use an AED (Automated external defibrillators).
  • Access post-resuscitation care.

To help us achieve our aims, we started the ‘Heart Safe Clubs’ initiative. The programme, including Joe’s Mini Heartstart for Sports, offers sports club / group members a free emergency lifesaving course focusing on CPR and using a defibrillator.  The ‘Heart Safe’ community is ever-growing, you can look at some of our case studies here.  

JHMT advocate that clubs and groups at all levels should be prepared for a cardiac emergency. Coaches, volunteers, players, club officials, and parents should ideally be trained in CPR and have access, and the know-how, to use a defibrillator (AED). We believe AEDs should be as commonplace as a fire extinguisher with drills carried out as routinely as fire drills, and that all clubs/groups should have a publicly accessible defibrillator on site.

Picture of Martin Johnson with caption 'Anyone can be a lifesaver'.Our patron, Martin Johnson, uses his profile and influence to further the trust’s goals. He says “Being aware of sudden cardiac arrest and having a bit of training can make all the difference. The reality is cardiac arrests happen not just to grandads, grandmas, mums, and dads, they also happen to sons and daughters too, whether they are Olympians, community athletes or coaches.”

Over the past 11 years, JHMT has worked collaboratively with a range of different partners and have extensively reviewed the information available on this topic. The good news is training is readily available and there are lots of helpful resources for people to tap into including:

Understanding CPR and having access to a defibrillator is essential to helping save more lives. If your organisation doesn’t have access to a defibrillator, there are a range of different funding sources available to help. For example, Sport England’s small grants programme consider AEDs to an eligible cost as part of a wider project.

We will be working in partnership with Club Matters to continue to raise awareness of SADS across grassroots delivery organisations and the professional workforce that support them. For more information on JHMT, becoming a Heart Safe organisation, and case studies, visit our website here.

No one deserves to endure a lifetime of pain and grief. Sharing Joe’s story is a powerful way to get people to sit up and take notice.

Don’t be caught out, be prepared – think fast, act quickly and be the difference that could save someone’s life.

[ Modified: Tuesday, 6 June 2023, 10:08 AM ]