The family of a 23-year-old man from Bolsover who died after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing football have thanked the East Midlands Ambulance Service team who fought to save his life.
Thomas Henson was playing football in Dronfield with work colleagues on Tuesday, 31 July, when he collapsed and stopped breathing.
Despite the best efforts of his friends, community first responders, ambulance crews and the A&E team at Sheffield General Hospital, Tom sadly died due to undiagnosed congenital heart disease.
Tom’s friends and family have already raised a phenomenal £19,000 in Tom’s memory which they plan to spend on defibrillators to be installed across Bolsover and surrounding areas to give other people the best chance of survival.
Tom’s mum, Nikki O'Halloran, who works for Royal Mail Fleet, has also raised almost £800 through collections from friends and colleagues to say thank you to Buxton Ambulance Station crews who did their best to save her son’s life.
Recently, Tom’s family met the ambulance team who answered the call to thank them in person and present them with the cheque.
Nikki explained that she had been at home when she received a call from one of Tom’s friends who had been playing football with him.
“Tom’s friend said that Tom had collapsed and someone was doing CPR on him, and then he was taken to hospital in a critical condition,” she said.
“From what I was told, the ambulance staff were incredible and did everything they could to help my son and I can’t thank them enough for this.
“I went straight to the hospital, and they were working on him for two hours after he collapsed, but unfortunately he didn’t survive.”
Emergency call handler Caroline Pidsley took the call from Tom’s friends, and Community First Responders Ian and Sue Towndrow from Dronfield CFR scheme were the first on scene to try to help Tom.
Paramedic Sallyanne Payne and Emergency Care Assistant Kathryn Crain attended in an ambulance and took Tom to hospital. Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance also attended the incident.
Fred Spencer, Tom’s grandfather, explained that Tom had been a huge football fan from an early age, supporting Sheffield United and playing in local teams from the age of six.
He said: “Tom was one of the nicest lads you could ever wish to meet. He was always so kind and so generous and wouldn’t hurt anyone.
“He was a fantastic role model for his younger brother Joseph and we are all devastated by what’s happened as it was so unexpected. He appeared to be a fit young man with his whole future ahead of him.
“He loved his football, so if he was going to go, he would have wanted to go on the field, and he did.”
If you would like to donate in Tom’s memory, you can do so here: https://www.c-r-y.org.uk/thomas-henson/