Western Isles cardiac arrest survivor to mark one-year-anniversary by fundraising for Stornoway defibrillator

Michelle Macleod survived a cardiac arrest thanks in part to the placement of a defibrillator by Skye-based charity Lucky2BHere.

A Western Isles woman who suffered a cardiac arrest almost a year ago during a marathon in Harris is marking the anniversary of her survival by raising funds for a defibrillator for her home town.

On August 10th, 2019, Michelle Macleod was saved by the quick actions of people trained in CPR and by the presence of a defibrillator placed by the Skye-based charity Lucky2BHere.

As the anniversary of that day fast approaches, Michelle is currently taking on the challenge of clocking up 250 km before 10th August by walking or running to raise funds for Lucky2BHere to install another defibrillator in Stornoway.

Posting on her JustGiving page, which has so far received £715 in donations, Michelle wrote: “August 10th marks a year since I had a cardiac arrest at the end of the Harris Marathon.

“I survived because of the fast response from people nearby and the use of a defibrillator.

“There are several of these lifesaving devices throughout the islands and thanks to the charity Lucky2bhere, there are more on the way.

“Wish me luck and thanks for your donation!”

Michelle had been competing in the Hebrides Marathon in Harris as part of a family team alongside her husband Shonny and sister Geraldine when she fell ill.

Shonny ran the first six miles, Michelle took up the second leg — running nine miles — and Geraldine completed the remaining 11 miles of the marathon.

Meanwhile, in another team, Michelle’s father Tony, her sister Rebecca and her partner Murdanie were also competing.

However, as Rebecca crossed the finish line, she was told that her sister
Michelle was gravely ill and fighting for her life.

Recounting her emotions at the time, Rebecca — who is a doctor — told the
Free Press: “The worst thing that anyone has ever said to me was as I crossed the finish line in Leverburgh – ‘Michelle has collapsed, she’s getting CPR’.

“It was so fortunate Michelle had a witnessed cardiac arrest with brilliant
people around her who started CPR straight away. Their actions and the
presence of a defibrillator saved Michelle’s life, without a doubt.”

Michelle, a mother of two daughters, Bethany (6) and Lara (3) spent three months in the Golden Jubilee Hospital near Glasgow following her cardiac arrest.

In November 2019, just 11 weeks later Michelle was back on her feet and well enough to raise a glass to Lucky2Bhere at the charity’s 10th-anniversary celebration in Inverness.

The main activity of Lucky2BHere is to place defibrillators and deliver emergency life support training to communities throughout Scotland.

To date, the charity has trained tens of thousands of volunteers in ELS and placed 600 plus defibrillators across Scotland.

Recounting her experience, Michelle told the Free Press: “I was in the hospital for 12 weeks and in the end, I had an operation and had my defib fitted,”

Commenting on the work of Lucky2BHere, she added: “I think the
work that the charity does is amazing – increasing the number of people who can do this life-saving work.”

To donate to Michelle’s campaign to raise funds for a defibrillator in Stornoway, please click here.

In an interview with West Highland Free Press reporter Adam Gordon at the Lucky2BHere anniversary event last year, Michelle spoke about her experience, how her sister helped to save her life and the amazing work being carried out by the Skye-based charity.