Community First Responder Mark saves uncle’s life

15 October 2021

Don Brook and Mark Kilburn

Don Brook and Mark Kilburn

Don Brook will be eternally grateful for the efforts of his nephew-in-law who saved his life when he fell ill at his home in Liversedge.

The 84-year-old became concerned when he started feeling unwell on Boxing Day morning last year and rang Mark Kilburn to ask for his advice.

Mark, who is a Community First Responder (CFR) for Yorkshire Ambulance Service but wasn’t on duty at the time, instantly suspected there was a problem with his heart and rushed to help.

His worst fears were realised and so he called 999 and alerted his CFR scheme co-ordinator Lynn Speight, to ask her to bring her kit and defibrillator.

“When the ambulance crew arrived, he was having a heart attack and then had a cardiac arrest,” recalled Mark, who lives in Gomersal, Cleckheaton.

“Lynn and I stayed to help and started with chest compressions before he was shocked with the defibrillator. We kept getting him back but he kept arresting again, three times in total, before we eventually got him back and he was much more stable this time.

“While I was doing CPR on my uncle, I was focused on working as hard as I could to keep him alive. The part I found difficult was updating my auntie on what was happening.”

He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he had a stent fitted and was well enough to speak to his wife Joyce on the phone by 6.15 that evening.

Don, a retired draughtsman, said: “I remember being in terrible pain in the morning, and then I started to faint as if I was sinking into nothingness, but no pain at this point, I think this is probably when I died before being resuscitated.

“What Mark and the rest of the team did that day was marvellous. When I saw Mark for the first time after it had happened, it was very emotional. I was looking at a guy who had just saved my life; I didn’t know what to say, how can you find the words to express your appreciation? There simply aren’t enough.

“Mark is very committed to his work as a Community First Responder and teaching about the importance of CPR in schools and with community groups. It’s not until something like this happens that you realise how invaluable it is.”