Laura Albon set-up My One Heart after her dad died in 2012, aged just 56, following a cardiac arrest. And this month she is teaming up with Chantry Place in Norwich, as well as a number of local influencers, to raise awareness of the importance of lifesaving defibrillators
In December 2012, when Laura Albon was Christmas shopping with my parents in Norwich, her 56-year-old dad suddenly collapsed. He was having a cardiac arrest and within an hour he was gone. She learnt afterwards that there had been no publicly accessible defibrillator nearby – and the one which was used on her dad came from the local police station, which took precious time to reach him.
On the fifth anniversary of her dad passing away, Laura launched My One Heart, a range of heart print t-shirts – all to raise awareness and funds for getting more 24-hour defibrillators in public places around the UK.
She raises funds for defibrillators for the local community by donating money from sales of her organic heart t-shirts and sweatshirts to charity Heart 2 Heart Norfolk, who have placed more than 200 24-hour defibrillators throughout Norfolk and Suffolk.
And now, with February being the month of love and matters of the heart, Laura’s My One Heart venture has partnered with Chantry Place and local influencers to raise awareness of the importance of these lifesavers.
The influencers include Cookie Crumbles UK, traceymwilkinson and thestaries, and everyone is working together to get people on social media talking about heart health and raise money for defibrillators, which deliver a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest.
The mother of two says: ‘It’s so important to have access to a defibrillator. If someone has a cardiac arrest and receives CPR their survival rate is 9 per cent. However, if they receive treatment from a defibrillator and shockable rhythm, their chance increases to 60 per cent.’
Had there been an easily accessible 24-hour defibrillator in Norwich city centre the chances are that her dad may still be here. She adds: ‘I started My One Heart in December 2017, five years after my dad’s passing. £5 of every purchase goes towards charity Heart2Heart Norfolk.’ My One Heart makes a conscious choice to use fair trade organic cotton and hand screen prints in Norfolk using eco-friendly water-based vinyl printing.
Chantry Place has two defibrillators and donated three to Norwich city centre in 2019. Thankfully, the defibrillators at Chantry Place have only been needed on a handful of occasions, as Sheridan Smith, Marketing Manager, says: ‘While we hope they will not be needed, this vital piece of equipment has the potential to save lives, so it is important to have them at Chantry Place. We’re committed to the safety and well-being of our customers, team and local community. This Valentine’s Day we want to use our platform to do some good and spread the word about defibrillators and hopefully raise funds for even more to be placed around Norfolk.’
In the UK there are around 60,000 cases of suspected cardiac arrest every year and a defibrillator is most effective when used within four minutes of it occurring.
While Chantry Place remains open for essential shops, delivery, takeaway and Click & Collect services, the centre is running a digital ‘From our Place to yours’ Valentine’s campaign, making February a month of love and celebrating not just who we love, but all the things we love. People can share their love stories on Instagram and use the #Chantryplacelovestories hashtag.
To find out more about My One Heart visit myoneheart.co.uk. Visit www.facebook.com/Defibrillatorsforthelocalcommunity for Heart 2 Heart Norfolk. For more information on Chantry Place visit www.ChantryPlace.co.uk or follow chantryplacenorwich on social media.
(Featured imaged picture credit: James Rouse)