A committed volunteer has spoken of how he helps save lives during his spare time. Paul Cook is a project manager at an insurance company by day but is a voluntary emergency responder by night.
Mr Cook joined the LIVES team around three years ago and said caring for others was second nature to him. He described the “hectic” and “frantic” situations he is often called to.
He said: “To me responding is in my blood, the whole of my family are in healthcare or have been. I could see someone fall over and my natural instinct is to make sure they’re okay and to help.
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“It’s a hard thing to describe where you turn up somewhere where the situation is hectic and frantic. You walk through the door and things calm down very quickly because there’s someone there trained to give the best medical care they can.”
Paul lives in Marking Deeping with his wife and two children and said he tries to volunteer for LIVES for around 100 hours each month. His shifts are often around two nights a week for around 12 hours per shift.
He said he had decided to complete the London Landmarks Half Marathon, complete with his backpack as an extra challenge and as a chance to show people how much kit is given to the responders by the charity. Paul will be carrying his defibrillator and care equipment, items he takes with him when he is on-call.
All the money raised from the marathon will go towards directly funding the kit that LIVES responders carry. Rachel Hay, community fundraising manager said: “Our runners are asking for sponsorship to ensure LIVES can fund the kit they carry.
“We are currently looking to replace some of the defibrillators each of our responders carry, and these cost over £1,200 each. Every penny raised will help support LIVES respond to the next 999 call.”
Paul said that every job he attends is completely different, and said that being able to calm down situations is “fantastic.” He added that he has a good support network through LIVES, calling a fellow colleague when he attends challenging situations where someone may die or be dying.
LIVES also has a ‘wobble number’ which responders can call for support to offload from difficult callouts. Paul added that he is looking forward to the marathon.
He said: “I’m mentally prepared, the bag that I’m carrying is not built to run with or for comfort over a long period of time and they aren’t very breathable. I’ve probably picked one of the worst things to carry but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Paul’s employer, Compare the Market, has said it will match all donations to £1500. The London Landmarks Half Marathon covers the city of London and Westminster, and five runners from LIVES will be taking part. Paul and the other runners are raising money for the event here.