Jack’s Appeal in double success

Campaign Series: INSPIRATION: Oakdale teenager Jack Thomas INSPIRATION: Oakdale teenager Jack Thomas

PUPILS at Trinity Fields School and Resource Centre in Ystrad Mynach, and those at Bedwas High School have become the latest youngsters to receive a defibrillator thanks to the Campaign- backed Jack’s Appeal.

Yesterday, Bedwas announced it would dedicate all sixth form fundraising to Jack’s Appeal, which was set up early this year in memory of Jack Thomas, from Oakdale, who suddenly died two years ago, aged just 15.

The campaign aims to equip every secondary school in Caerphilly county borough with a defibrillator, which can resuscitate cardiac arrest patients.

Its long-term aim is to call for a law requiring all public buildings to house a defibrillator, and for regular heart screening for young people.

The school will keep the life- saving heart defibrillator in reception in case of a cardiac arrest.

Appeal founder and mother of Jack, June Thomas, said she was delighted Bedwas High School’s sixth form has chosen Jack’s Appeal as its charity for next year.

She said: “The new defibrillator means everything – it’s one more school, one more goal.

“The students were marvellous – every school we’ve gone to has been so supportive.”

Sharon Owen, from Welsh Hearts, said more than ten defibrillators have now been installed in schools across Gwent and the 720 pupils will be given training in September.

Since Jack’s death, his parents have worked with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

They are also working with the Welsh Hearts charity and his newspaper on Jack’s Appeal.

“If there had been a defibrillator there for our son, who knows, he may still be here today,” said Mr Thomas, at the Trinity Fields handover.

“We’ve been fundraising with Welsh Hearts to provide defibrillators for secondary schools in Caerphilly county borough and Gwent through Jack’s Appeal, and we wanted to support Trinity Fields because of the variety of age groups they have here.”

Ian Elliott, principal at Trinity Fields, said: “This is a gift we are absolutely delighted to receive, but also one we hope we never have to use.”

To donate to Jack’s Appeal, visit welshhearts.org/jacksappeal or send a cheque payable to Welsh Hearts, to Temple Court, 13a Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HA, with ‘Jack Thomas defibs appeal’ on the back of the envelope.

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