Heart survivor aims to ride to the rescue

Dave Cleland will be riding across East Anglia to raise money for heart charities and emergency services.

Dave Cleland will be riding across East Anglia to raise money for heart charities and emergency services. - Credit: KATHERINE LAWSON-PHILLIPS/ EAST ANGLIAN AIR AMBULANCE

Heart attack survivor Dave Cleland is hoping to ride to the rescue of others by completing a charity cycling tour one year after he nearly died from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). 

The Woodbridge resident was saved by his wife Bernie, who performed Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on him while waiting for ambulance crews to arrive and restart his heart. 

The emergency, on February 20, 2021, happened a week after Mr Cleland suffered a heart attack while cycling and was taken to Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge. 

He was taken to the same hospital following the second heart attack and spent 30 hours in an induced coma. 

Now he is using his experience as motivation for the cycle ride and aims to raise £1,000 for four charities: Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS), East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA), Royal Papworth Hospital Charity and the British Heart Foundation. 

He will be cycling around Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire from August 22-26 and will be joined by his son Luke and nephews Alex and Calum. 

They will be visiting emergency service locations en-route, including SARS bases at Saxmundham and Woolpit, the EAAA at Norwich and Cambridge airports and Royal Papworth and Ipswich Hospitals; a total distance of 400km. 

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Mr Cleland said: “Upon leaving hospital I was stunned when I discovered that only 8% of people in the UK currently survive a SCA.  

“As a result, I determined that I wanted to do everything to improve the chances for others.  

“In these situations, every minute really counts, and the earlier you get CPR and your heart restarted with an Automated External Defibrillator, the better your chances of survival.  

“These are simple skills to learn and you cannot afford to wait for others to arrive.

“As well as meeting people involved in my recovery, I hope to raise more than £1,000 for the four charities that support SCA incidents: SARS, EAAA, Royal Papworth Hospital Charity and the British Heart Foundation.

“Along the way, it would also be great to meet up and say hello to other SCA or heart condition survivors from the region."

More details about the cause and the route are detailed on https://caar2022.wordpress.com 

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/caar2022