‘My girl died as I collected her from school, she’d be alive if there was defib’
A mum has told how her five-year-old daughter would still be alive if there had been a defibrillator at the little girl’s school.
Lilly-May Page-Bowden suffered a cardiac arrest in the playground when she was being collected from school by her mother Claire Page.
Two off-duty nurses – parents who were also at the scene – began performing CPR on the youngster but she could not be revived.
The school did not have a defibrillator at the time of Lilly-May’s collapse.
Claire, 40, is supporting the Mirror’s campaign to make the machines a legal requirement in public places.
She said: “It needs to be made law. Defibrillators should be as accessible as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. Lilly-May’s heart was shockable, so a defibrillator would have saved her if there was one nearby.
“Had there been one at school my princess would still be alive today.”
Lilly-May suffered the cardiac arrest at Willow Bank Infant School in Woodley, Berks, in 2014.
She slumped seconds after telling her mum: “Look how fast I can run.”
Claire said: “She had come out of her classroom and ran 30 yards in front of me before collapsing on the ground.”
She added: “Ambulances aim to arrive in eight minutes when someone collapses, the paramedics made it in seven.
“But when you have a cardiac, every minute reduces your chance of survival by 10 per cent.
“Eight minutes is far too long – that only leaves you a 20 per cent chance of life.” It was later discovered Lilly-May had an undiagnosed condition that causes an irregular heart rhythm which can be life threatening.
Single mum Claire, who lives with son Mitchell, four, in Woodley, knew nothing about CPR or defibrillators at the time of her daughter’s death.
But after the tragedy she completed first aid courses and began fundraising to install devices in local schools.
She has helped put 32 defibrillators into schools in the area.
Lilly-May’s primary now also has a machine which was given by another charity.
Claire says watching football star Christian Eriksen’s brush with death when he suffered a cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 game on Saturday brought back memories of the tragedy. The mum added: “What I witnessed seven years ago shows that cardiac arrests can hit anybody.
“Earlier this week thousands upon thousands of people watched a professional
footballer – as fit as a fiddle – collapse.
“I wish Christian Eriksen a speedy recovery but we shouldn’t be waiting for tragedy to hit.
“We need to be proactive and get [defibrillators] installed – schools, communities and high streets should all have them.”
A group of MPs are pushing for a law that would make defibrillators a legal requirement in key locations.