Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby has added his support to a campaign to ensure better access to heart defibrillators.
The Conservative MP posed with campaigners to help spread the message at a parliamentary event to mark European Restart a Heart Day which took place last Sunday (16 October).
The parliamentary event was organised by the Oliver King Foundation which was set up in memory of Oliver King, who died aged 12 while taking part in a swimming race at school.
Mr Kirby posed with Jake Morrison, the foundation’s chief executive, and Oliver’s father Mark King, who set up the foundation.
They told Mr Kirby that in Britain 12 young people die from a sudden cardiac arrest – like Oliver did – every week.
And that every year 30,000 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest in the UK yet just one in ten survive.
The foundation is trying to ensure more people have access to a defibrillator and that they are kept in more places, including schools.
They highlighted the case of the footballer Fabrice Muamba who was shocked 16 times by a lifesaving defibrillator in front of the nation.
The foundation said: “Early access to a defibrillator is vital. For every minute that passes, chances of survival drop by 10 per cent.”
After signing up to become a “defibrillator champion” for his constituency, Mr Kirby said: “I am proud to become a lifesaving defibrillator champion for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven.
“It is vital that we take action to prevent any loss of life where one can be saved.”
A fellow MP and former Brighton councillor Maria Caulfield, who spent a career in nursing, also attended the event. She said: “This issue is something that I am passionate about delivering for my constituents and as a starting point I will be working with local schools across my constituency to fundraise and get lifesaving defibrillators in our area, protecting our students, teachers and visitors while at school.
“It was interesting to hear from the foundation about how many lives have been saved, including a caretaker at a school who had only received the defibrillator two weeks earlier.”
Mr Morrison said: “It is important that we spread awareness of the vital need for this equipment in our communities. Our Members of Parliament have a great platform and connection in their constituencies to spread this message.”
Mr King said: “Five years ago when my son Oliver passed away from this hidden heart condition, we didn’t know that his legacy would reach this far. We are determined to save as many young lives as possible so that no other family has to suffer a similar loss to that of ours.”
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