A dinner in Inverness marked the tenth anniversary of a small charity with a fair number of those present pretty certain they would not have been there without it.
Lucky2BHere was founded by Ross Cowie, who suffered a heart attack in the Skye Camanachd clubhouse. The only ambulance in the north end of Skye happened to be nearby and its defibrillator saved Ross’s life.
When he eventually recovered, he raised funds to install a defibrillator at the scene of his near demise. By then, he was acutely aware of how few of these were accessible in the Highlands, so Lucky2BHere was born.
It has now supplied over 600 defibrillators throughout Scotland on two conditions – an organisation raises funds to pay for it and, crucially, trains people to use it.
The simplicity and effectiveness of the charity, run from an office in Portree with minimal overheads, appeals to me. But Ross knows he is nibbling at the edges of a cultural problem. We simply do not equip people to deal with emergencies.
The key statistic is that in Denmark, where everyone is given training in Emergency Life Support and it is a public duty to do something on the spot, one in four survives a cardiac arrest. In Scotland, it is one in 20.
Lucky2BHere campaigns for every Scottish school pupil to be given basic training in Emergency Life Support training. That is an objective worth supporting.
The evening in Inverness ended with a fine Gaelic song, Mo Ghleannan Taobh Loch Liobhann The singer was the first person to be “saved” by a Lucky2BHere defibrillator after collapsing on-stage in Poolewe Hall in full flow with that song. This time he finished it. Hard to argue with!