‘At the Heart of the Game’, a unique CPR and AED awareness campaign, backed by George Best Belfast City Airport, has trained over 200 young people throughout Northern Ireland in the lifesaving technique of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The project, launched by inspirational Methodist College student, Pegasus, Ulster and Irish hockey player, Anna Pim, also taught youth members from 20 different hockey clubs across the province how to confidently use an automated external defibrillator (AED) in a medical emergency.

Speaking of her achievements in just eight short months since the campaign first launched, Anna, who is First Aid level one and two trained, explained:

“Having witnessed a cardiac arrest situation at a young age myself, where I felt ill-equipped to help but where immediate CPR and defibrillator usage undoubtedly saved someone’s life, I was inspired to take action.

“I wanted to ensure that other teenagers in Northern Ireland had the knowledge and confidence to perform potentially lifesaving skills should they ever have a similar encounter, and I truly believe I’ve achieved that with At the Heart of the Game.

“From Bangor to Ballymoney, Portadown to Pegasus, I have enjoyed every second of rolling out this campaign and delivering CPR and AED training to under-13 age groups across the country, but I couldn’t have done it without the backing of Belfast City Airport.”

Inspired by Anna’s unique campaign and determination to make a difference in local communities, Belfast City Airport committed funding towards the purchase of 20 state-of-the-art Lifepak CR2 AED trainers that will now be presented to the St John’s Ambulance Cadet Division responsible for each hockey club area.

This vital provision will enable St John’s Ambulance to educate the masses at those clubs, and indeed in their surrounding communities, generating a ripple effect of knowledge and understanding of CPR and defibrillator usage.

Stephen Patton, Human Resources and CR Manager at Belfast City Airport, said:

“At the Heart of the Game is, at its core, a campaign that focuses on people, community, and education – three key pillars also within the Airport’s sustainability strategy.

“The synergies here, but also the passion and ambition shown from Anna, made this an easy project for us to get involved with and it’s been a pleasure to champion her efforts.

“Since the launch of At the Heart of Game, CPR and AED awareness has been made mandatory elements of the school curriculum here in Northern Ireland, so it shows just how insightful and ahead of the game Anna was with her vision and we can’t wait to see where she takes the campaign next.”

At the Heart of the Game has also been backed by Ireland’s most capped hockey international, Dr. Shirley McCay MBE, and gold medal winning pentathlete, Lady Mary Peters.

In her role as ambassador for At the Heart of the Game, Lady Mary Peters has supported Anna along her journey so far, and said:

“What an achievement from an extraordinary young girl.

“To not only possess those skills but transfer them to others so they may save someone’s life in the future is truly wonderful and I commend Anna on the impact her efforts are going to have, not just on those 200 young individuals now, but on others down the line.”

Mirroring Mary’s sentiments, fellow At the Heart of the Game ambassador and current Talent Coach at Ulster Hockey, Shirley, concluded:

“The young hockey community of Northern Ireland is going to benefit massively from this campaign and everyone at Ulster Hockey is thankful for her contribution to our clubs.”

For more information on Belfast City Airport’s Community Fund, please visit www.belfastcityairport.com

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