A Brief History of Welsh Hearts

Welsh Hearts was established in 2013 by Sharon Owen, to help save lives one heart at a time. She was inspired to set up the charity because following a routine check up with a GP at the age of 11, she was told she had a heart murmur.

Sharon says:

I want to give something back to Wales and it’s a cause so close to my heart as I have also lost both my Nan and Pops, aunties and uncles and many friends to heart disease. It’s been hard work and quite a challenge at times but thanks to everyone who has helped and supported me on my journey I feel that Welsh Hearts is finally on the map – however there is still so much work to do.

Keep Wales Ticking 

Every second counts when you’re having a cardiac arrest. There are approximately 2,800 sudden cardiac arrests outside hospital in Wales every year, and only a 3% survival rate. A defibrillator is able to restart the heart during a cardiac arrest, and can save lives. When used, the survival rate can increase to 50%, but a speedy response is crucial. This is the reason we have launched our Every second counts appeal in Cardiff.

Too many people in Cardiff are losing their lives to heart disease on a daily basis. With your support we would like to place 500 defibrillators throughout Wales’ capital city. We will also be providing free CPR training for schools, businesses and sports clubs.

Please donate today and help us raise much needed funds.

What is a defibrillator or AED?

A defibrillator is an electrical device that provides a shock to the heart when there is erratic and irregular beating of the heart or the heart has suddenly stopped beating. A defibrillator provides a high energy electric shock to enable the heart to start beating normally and regularly again. It is a life saving device and saves millions of lives across the world each year.

A PAD or Public Access Defibrillator can often be found in public places such as your local leisure or shopping centre, gym, community hall or golf course. It is usually attached to a wall in a briefcase sized box.

How to use a defibrillator

Defibrillators are very easy to use. Although they do not all look the same, they all function in a similar way.

If you come across someone who is not breathing or breathing erratically, the most important thing is to call 999 and to start CPR. If you are on your own, do not interrupt the CPR to go and get a defibrillator. When you can, send someone else to find one. Once the defibrillator is open, all you have to do is follow the spoken instructions. You do not need any training to use one.

What is the difference between CARDIAC ARREST and a HEART ATTACK?

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs. The person loses consciousness and collapses. SCA usually causes death if it is not treated within minutes.

SCA is not the same as a heart attack. A heart attack occurs if blood flow to part of the heart muscle is blocked. During a heart attack, there is usually chest pain which can spread to the jaw, the arms or the back. The chest pain is usually but not always severe and is often described as tight as a clenched fist pressing inside the chest. During a heart attack, the heart usually does not suddenly stop beating. However, SCA, may occur during a heart attack and can also happen after or during recovery from a heart attack. Unlike Cardiac Arrest or SCA, the patient usually remains conscious and can tell you their symptoms.

People who have heart disease, Diabetes or other chronic diseases are at higher risk for both SCA & heart attacks. However, SCA can happen at any age, including the young. It occurs in people who often appear healthy and have no known heart disease or other risk factors for SCA.

With the combined use of chest compressions and prompt use of a defibrillator together with a rapid ambulance response, survival rates increase dramatically up to an impressive 50-60%. Lets Keep Wales Ticking. Please support our appeal and help us place even more defibrillators throughout Wales. 

Apply for your defibrillator

If you’d like to apply for a defibrillator for your community, please complete the online application for or download and post it to us. For more details, please contact Welsh Hearts.

Please contact fundraising@welshhearts.org for more information on discretionary funding.