Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer
Air Ambulance Charity Kent Surrey Sussex
Donate
Mission Map status: ready for mission >

01st Mar 2022

It was shortly after I returned to the clubhouse that I knew things weren’t right.

I’d been taking part in a society golf day in September 2018 at Upchurch River Valley, when I started to experience strange involuntary muscle spasms in my chest and arms. I remember going out to the patio and it was there that I collapsed. I didn’t realise at the time but I was suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.

My fellow golfers called the emergency services and I could hear voices telling me help was on the way. Through watery vision, I remember seeing two green-suited paramedics from SECAmb. They were first on the scene, taking over from my brother, who had been administering CPR.

The crew from KSS quickly followed, and a paramedic in a red jumpsuit told me I was being taken immediately to the William Harvey Hospital at Ashford.

During treatment, the medical team discovered I had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a genetic heart condition caused by an extra electrical pathway in the heart that can lead to periods of rapid heart rate and bring on a sudden cardiac arrest.

After nine days in hospital, I was taken to St Thomas' in London for a heart ablation treatment to correct the fault before returning home to my wife and family.

The support from the NHS was amazing. I had rehabilitation at Darent Valley Hospital as well as cardio psychology support at King’s Hospital in London after suffering with panic attacks before returning to work four months later.

It’s still tough to think back to that day in Upchurch. The paramedics later told me I’d actually died for 23 minutes. Without their help and without the KSS crew, I wouldn’t be here today.

It will be four years in September, since I suffered my out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. It was a day that brought KSS into my life, along with some big changes. Since then the whole world has changed, with everyone suffering due to COVID one way or another but dealing with it as best as we can. 

For us getting our dog Betty a year and a half ago has become a massive plus to me especially, and my wife Sarah. She is coming up to six-years-old and I’d like to think that we have made Betty’s life better, just as much has she has helped me deal with my anxiety woes since that eventful day.

More recently my job has also changed. I was self-employed and was successful in what I was doing but recently I decided to go back to being employed! This has been a big change and a brave step for me but definitely the right decision. Now I am back working around others which is great as I enjoy being around other people.

Ironically, I’d always wanted to take a flight in a helicopter but I never expected that my first one would be aboard the Air Ambulance. In a way, I’m gutted that I can’t remember it but I’m just very grateful they were there for me when I needed them. It’s a life-saving service that the world can’t do without.

Graham with his wife Sarah and dog Betty
Graham with his wife Sarah and dog Betty
Graham meeting the KSS and SECAmb crew who helped him
Graham meeting the KSS and SECAmb crew who helped him

Tags