A WOMAN had her world turned upside down when her seemingly fit and healthy husband suffered a heart attack while on a run.

Suzi Carrigan was running in Bitts Park, Carlisle, with her 43-year-old husband Glenn, when he collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest.

“My husband is really fit and does crossfit five or six times a week in Penrith,” explained Suzi. “We went for a run with my sister and her partner.

“He collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. My sister’s boyfriend started CPR and the paramedics came with a defibrillator and they were able to get his heart started again.

“He was transported to the Cumberland Infirmary and spent two days in an induced coma in intensive care. He was transferred to the Freeman Hospital (in Newcastle) and had a triple heart bypass. He was discharged five days after surgery.”

Started campaign

Determined to ensure more people have the same survival chances as Glenn, his wife and their friends at District L Fitness in Penrith have started a campaign to raise money to buy defibrillators for venues across Cumbria.

Suzi, 43, who lives with Glenn in the Kingstown area of the city, says the incident, on August 6, knocked her for six. “I don’t think it has hit home yet what happened and I am living in a bit of a bubble,” she said.

“The worst thing was when I went to the hospital and I didn’t know what had happened, I didn’t know he had an issue with his heart.

“It’s been difficult to come to terms with the fact his whole life has changed. He obviously had a triple bypass and he is still off work recovering and he will be on medication for the rest of his life.

“It makes you think about lifestyle and wanting to get fit and healthy. It will take him time to get back to the gym. It will be a long process.”

Heart problem

After the scare doctors told the couple that Glenn has an issue with one of the arteries in his heart. They are unsure if this was the cause.

Glenn has not been able to receive the heart rehabilitation services due to coronavirus, Suzi explained, which has made his recovery more difficult.

“When he collapsed in the park somebody came over and he said, ‘it doesn’t look good, I think you have to prepare yourself’,” continued Suzi.

“When you’re in that situation it is the longest journey to the hospital - and it was only down the road.”

During the time around his operation, coronavirus meant Suzi was unable to see her husband.

“He is the fittest guy, he’s never been to the doctors, never taken painkillers and has always been really healthy,” said Suzi.

“He’s an electrician and is really active at work and is always on the go. He never once complained about feeling ill. We went out for a run, he was doing well and felt okay and then he collapsed.”

Thankful for the defibrillator

Suzi worries what would have happened if there hadn’t be a defibrillator.

“I don’t think his chances would have been great,” she explained. “You never think about them, now it is so much in our minds, every time we go anywhere we are looking to see where they are.”

Glenn has no recollection of what happened that day.

“I went to work as normal and I rushed home, got changed and drove to Bitts Park. I loaded my car and that’s the last thing I can remember.”

Next thing he knew, he was waking up from a coma three days later.

“I woke up and they said I’d had a heart attack and I needed an operation. I felt fine, I just felt like I’d been hit by a train.”

Glenn feels lucky. “If Dean wasn’t there (Suzi’s sister’s partner) and I was out on my own, I don’t know if I’d be having this conversation now.

“Without someone there to resuscitate me fast enough, someone would have found me on the side of the road. I could have been driving home if it was half an hour later. I feel very lucky.” Glenn is expected to make a full recovery.

To donate, visit https://tinyurl.com/y4c7fvy2.