Every Cloud…

2 Oct

I was in work the other day just checking the company news homepage before I was due to start my shift and something caught my eye. It was an article informing of The Daily Mail’s Inspirational Women of the Year Awards. I had a gander to see what it was all about.

The Daily Mail is running its seventh Inspirational Women of the Year Awards in association with British Gas and the Shelter charity. The award allows us simple folk to nominate any women we think deserve to be recognised which I think is a great idea because it allows “normal” people with no fame or fortune be recognised for the good that they do in the world.

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image from here

I was reading further into it on Monday and came across an article on one of the nominees, Claire Maitland. I had a read to see why she was nominated and I came across quite a heartfelt story.

Claire received a telephone call at 1am on August 12th 2000 from her brother letting her know that her 14-year-old nephew had drowned. Needless to say she was devastated, I can’t begin to imagine her grief, having a nephew and a niece myself, it’s not a pleasant thought. Claire learnt that medics found her nephew, Sandy, unconscious in a lake in Canada. Unfortunately they were too late to save him.

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image from here

Claire recalls the months following his death “for months we just existed. I couldn’t stop thinking about Sandy’s accident – and the remoteness of the lake where he drowned. I thought what if the same thing had happened in Scotland? Who would have been the first to reach him, and would they have been able to help?” (The Daily Mail website 13th September 2013).

Following on from her thoughts, Claire discovered that even though nurses and GP’s are mostly first to reach a casualty, they aren’t actually equipped with anything that could save a patients life. This news alarmed her understandably because I imagine she kept linking it back to Sandy just thinking what if…

As the months went on this sort of became a back thought, until she received a phone call from her sister Penny saying how she was unsure what to do with the rest of her life with the absence of Sandy. Claire took that opportunity to start a trust in memory of Sandy. What a fantastic way to preserve someone’s memory, and even better, Penny and Claire decided on working towards providing vital life saving equipment to on-call doctors and nurses in the regional areas of Scotland and the offshore isles.

Her words echoed to me from the article “if we could stop one family losing a loved one, it would be worth it.” Sincerity is the first word that comes to mind. Claire had put the personal back into saving lives.  However, she couldn’t have anticipated what happened next.

The Sandpiper Trust has helped to supply life-saving equipment for 2000 emergencies a year. That’s a lot of loved ones.

Claire and Penny worked with emergency doctors to design the blue Sandpiper bag which contains 50 items of vital medical equipment, such as CPS face masks, mini tracheotomy kits, airway masks and stiff neck collars.

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The success and growth of the trust has been incredible. Over the past 18 months alone there have been 3000 call-outs and a whopping £1.5 million raised. Countless lives have been saved.

To add a personal aspect to this story, Gillian McKenzie owes her life to Claire and the life saving bag because in 2012 she suffered a cardiac arrest. Her six-year-old son called her neighbour who realised she wasn’t breathing and because of the fast arrival of the GP with the Sandpiper bag, Gillian’s life was saved and she can now watch her kids grow up because of Claire.

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image from here

What’s even more amazing is that Gillian met with Claire for tea several months later to put a face to a name and the pair just cried to each other knowing what has happened has prevented what could have happened. Every cloud does have a silver lining and Claire should be deeply proud of herself because she has turned the memory of her wonderful nephew into a life saving action.

What. A. Woman.

For more info on the charity visit www.sandpipertrust.org

About the Writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.


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