By BEV JORDAN
Lives will be saved thanks to the Community Defib Project started by Wisemans Ferry local and paramedic, 22-year-old Sophie Wills.
The Community Defib Project installs community accessible defibrillators to remote communities, harnessing the power of community fundraisers. The most recent were installed on July 17 at Upper Colo Rd, Upper Colo and Cedar Ridge Rd, Kurrajong.
The not-for-profit campaign was founded by Sophie while studying to be a paramedic at Western Sydney University. She wanted to get a defibrillator – an AED (automated external defibrillator) – for Wisemans Ferry Bowling Club to enable anyone to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest victim.
In less than two years since the club AED was installed at Wisemans Ferry and the second at Wisemans Ferry Crossing, she and her army of volunteers have fundraised and installed 45 publicly accessible defibrillators across 15 communities along the Hawkesbury River.
She says by giving residents in the community the tools to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest they could save a life. “With every minute that goes by during a sudden cardiac arrest without a defibrillator, the victim’s chance of survival is reduced by 7-10per cent.”
Each set up costs approximately $3000 to install and it’s been locals who have been fundraising to ensure that there is a defibrillator available for public use. The money raised also goes to maintenance, education and community resources.
“The uptake in the Hawkesbury LGA has been incredible,” said Sophie. “The communities within the Hawkesbury can see the value in the project and have been supporting it. Community Defib Project
As a Hawkesbury Local I know how special this community is, I know how much of a privilege it is to live where we do. But we also must be realistic about how far we are from help. We must come together as a community to create a more prepared and safer community. That’s what the Community Defib Project is about.”
Sophie said the Community Defib Project would like to thank the more than 40 volunteers from the Hawkesbury communities who had been responsible including community Team Leaders; Gillian Jessup (St Albans), Richie Benson (Cumberland Reach), Rod Cumming (Upper Colo), Melissa Barry (Blaxlands Ridge), Tanya Little (Sackville-Ebenezer) and Chris Dickinson (Oakville- Maraylya-Pitt Town).
A full list of where the community AEDs have been placed and the sponsors are on the website www. communitydefibproject.org.au. There are more community AEDs planned, to get involved or support the project email [email protected] or visit the Facebook page www.facebook.com/communitydefibproject