Heart­felt ap­peal for col­lec­tors

North Taranaki Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - CHRISTINE WALSH

Car­diac ar­rest sur­vivor Wendy Waite is grate­ful for her sec­ond chance at life.

She has atrial fib­ril­la­tion (AFib), a heart con­di­tion that means she has an ir­reg­u­lar and of­ten rapid heart rate. Be­cause of this she has had a num­ber of AFib episodes since late 2016.

Last June, the 73-year-old col­lapsed at home from a heart at­tack and her heart stopped. The sup­port from the Taranaki Heart Foun­da­tion helped her re­cov­ery from the near-death ex­pe­ri­ence and was ‘‘out of this world,’’ she said.

Now Wendy will be sup­port­ing the foun­da­tion’s na­tional Big Heart Ap­peal 2018.

She is mak­ing a heart­felt plea for vol­un­teers in the com­mu­nity to join her in shak­ing the col­lec­tion buck­ets on the streets of New Ply­mouth on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 23. ‘‘Any­one with a cou­ple of hours to spare please help and sup­port the Health Foun­da­tion,’’ Wendy said. ‘‘You never know what’s around your cor­ner.’’

The day of her heart at­tack, Wendy re­calls she and her hus­band, Scott had had din­ner. ‘‘I said to Scotty. ‘I feel hot, but I’m fine’.’’

Scott sug­gested she rest on the couch and he headed up­stairs to pack her a bag in case they had to go to hos­pi­tal.

Wendy has no mem­ory of what fol­lowed but oth­ers have since filled in her blanks.

‘‘As he was go­ing up the stairs he heard a crash., I was gone,’’ she said.

Scott rushed back down to find her un­re­spon­sive. He rang 111, and per­formed CPR straight away and up un­til paramedics ar­rived to take over.

‘‘He saved my life,’’ Wendy said.

Wendy lay on life sup­port in hos­pi­tal for a day and in In­ten­sive Care Unit for a week, be­fore be­ing flown to Waikato Hos­pi­tal for surgery to have an im­plantable car­dioverter de­fib­ril­la­tor (ICD) put in her chest. It uses elec­tri­cal im­pulses or shocks to re­set the rhythm of her heart.

Heart dis­ease is our big­gest sin­gle killer, with more than 6000 Ki­wis dy­ing from it ev­ery year.

To sign up as a vol­un­teer street col­lec­tor visit heart­foun­da­tion.org.nz/vol­un­teer or con­tact Erin Carter 7695066.

Car­diac ar­rest sur­vivor Wendy Waite and Taranaki Heart Foun­da­tion’s Erin Carter geared up for Big Heart Ap­peal.

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