A Bingham mum who was inspired to become a Community First Responder after her own personal experience has spoken about the day that changed her life
Alison Curtis has been responding for seven years now, serving the community of Bingham and surrounding areas.
Earlier this year while on duty, she attended Tommy Smith, the 11 month old who suffered a cardiac arrest. For Alison this hit close to home, bringing back memories of her own experience and what led her to becoming a Community First Responder.
Seventeen years ago in September 2002, Alison gave birth to two twin boys, Sam and David. Arriving seven weeks early, Sam was born with Downs Syndrome and a hole in his heart.
With a weakened immune system, Sam was susceptible to catching the simplest cold. A chest infection at 13 weeks old led to a chain of events which would then inspire Alison to help others in the future.
Alison said: “I can still remember the day very vividly, sitting with Sam, my mum and daughter Sarah in the local GP’s surgery.
“Both myself and my mum looked down at Sam who was very quiet. It was at that moment we realised he was turning blue. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your child that way and within seconds we ran to get a doctor.”
Realising he was in respiratory arrest, Alison watched on as a doctor performed mouth to mouth on her son as they waited for the ambulance crew to arrive.
“Although I had a flood of emotions going through me, I had to stay calm for my daughter. I watched as the crew arrived and took Sam out on a stretcher to the ambulance. He looked so tiny, he was only 4 lbs when he was born.”
Sam was in hospital for a number of weeks, supported by a ventilator and arrived home on Christmas Day 2002. Before the age of three, the hole in his heart was sealed and now nearly 17, nothing holds him back.
A few years on, Alison spotted her local CFR group at the town fair. Following her experience and knowing she wanted to make a difference to her community, she signed up and has never looked back.
Alison said: “After what happened with Sam, I wanted to help as many people as possible so they didn’t have to go through what I did.
“It was one of the best decisions to become a Community First Responder. Every day is different and sometimes difficult but I absolutely love what I do and I get to work with some amazing people.
“If I can help just one person, it makes those hours in which I volunteer worthwhile.”
If you would like to become a CFR you can do so by visiting https://www.emas.nhs.uk/join-the-team/volunteers/