Family of Chris Hickey who died of cardiac arrhythmia aged 28 donate defibrillator to Trimley St Mary Primary School
Devastated relatives of a 28-year-old Suffolk man who died unexpectedly in his sleep have donated a defibrillator to a school in the hope it will spare another family their heartbreak.
Chris Hickey went into cardiac arrhythmia in bed one night in May last year and never woke up.
His mother, Jill, and sister, Kim, have fundraised in his honour to buy a defibrillator for Trimley St Mary Primary School, where Chris was a pupil.
The potentially life-saving piece of equipment, which works to restore the heart rhythm if someone goes into cardiac arrest, will be kept in the school office and it can be used by the public.
At an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday, Jill said: “It was something I felt I wanted to do because if it saves another mother the heartache and a young person’s life I feel it’s a good thing to be involved in.”
A commemorative plaque for Chris has also been displayed in the school’s foyer.
Chris, who had a passion for Formula One and swimming, was brought up in Trimley St Mary.
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Kim said she and her brother were very close. They both worked at Tesco Martlesham and moved in together in Kesgrave last year.
More than £600 was raised towards the defibrillator by staff at the supermarket who cycled the distance of the Belgian Grand Prix on static bikes.
The remainder was pledged by Trimley St Mary Parish Council.
Describing her son, Jill said: “He was very friendly, he had a smile for everyone.”
The loss of Chris, who attended Orwell High School and Northgate Sixth Form, was difficult for the family to comprehend as he was otherwise healthy.
The cause of death was given as cardiac arrhythmia due to left ventricular hypertrophy.
Jill and Kim are campaigning to raise awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) and are supporting cardiac charity SADS UK’s quest to install defibrillators in all schools.
When someone goes into cardiac arrest, their chance of survival diminishes with every minute that passes without defibrillation.
According to SADS UK, if the procedure is performed immediately there is a 90% chance they will live; after eight minutes this falls to 16%.
The mother and daughter team plan to continue raising money to purchase defibrillators for other Suffolk schools.