St John and the Ciy Defibrillator Project

St John and the City are grateful to Paul Burns who has become a Project Donor.

Paul Burns' Story

On the 3rd of April 2016, I decided not to go for a run up the Pentland Hills, instead I would go and play football at the Hibernian training ground - a decision that saved my life. On that Sunday morning, I headed off to the training ground for the first time to play football with my fellow “FFIT” (football fans in training) graduates. It’s a wonderful initiative developed across most football clubs in Scotland, if you are reading this and feel a tad overweight it’s well worth looking into.

I travelled like a teenager playing for a new boy’s club for the first time. I was so excited driving to the ground. I arrived with no time to warm up, was told what team I was in and the game commenced. For fifty minutes, I felt like I was rolling back the years. I had only ever wanted to become a professional football player and have wonderful memories of my younger years training with Hibs as a Schoolboy, Captaining Edinburgh Schools and winning a Scottish Juvenile Cup with an unbeatable Tartan/Hutchie Vale team.

I didn’t feel quite myself in the last ten minutes of the match and I was relieved when it ended. However, as it had been such a great match everyone wanted to play an extra half hour. A couple of the guys expressed their concern at how I looked but I didn’t want to drop out and make it an uneven number so decided to take it easy and play. After only about 5 minutes I got the ball square in the nether regions and collapsed. I can remember everything about that day until that moment.

Many thought that I was having an epileptic fit, but they weren’t to know that I was having a massive heart attack which resulted in a cardiac arrest. Hibs Physiotherapist, Kitty Forrest was working that morning and was asked to help. She firstly administered two rounds of CPR and after I failed to respond she used a defibrillator to get my heart back into rhythm. I was rushed to hospital and had stents inserted to unblock my arteries.

It was only when I went back to the training ground a few weeks later that I realised how many people assisted in saving my life that day and I am eternally grateful to each and every one of them. Thank goodness Kitty and the defibrillator machine were at hand otherwise I would most certainly have died.

I am writing this on a Train travelling to London and I am thinking how lucky I am. I’ve had a great life so far and I know there are many more great days to come. My Wife and I are visiting London with our son Philip to see our youngest Ronan make his West End Musical Theatre debut. It will be a magical day shared with my loved ones. Plus, you never know, I might even get to see Hibs win the Scottish Cup....Again!!!!

It wasn’t my turn on the 3rd of April 2016. My life was saved by the use of a defibrillator. That’s why I set myself a target of raising £5k to provide funds for 3 defibrillators along with the necessary training required to administer them. I am doing this through St John and the City Defibrillator Project – Edinburgh. However, by the time I finished my fundraising event I had raised over £10k so there will now be 5 defibrillators and cabinets fitted in and around Edinburgh donated by myself.

Thanks for reading my story,

Yours in life,

Paul