Chris Hyatt

I am going to be strapped to the wing of a 1940’s plane whilst it fly’s over Essex on the 11th of July. Then a month later on the 16th of August I’ll be taking on a 100 mile bike ride in the Ride London!

I’m doing this in support of Harefield’s Cath Lab Appeal where they need to raise £500,000 to redevelop Cath Lab 5 providing much needed cardiovascular imaging equipment, equipment not covered by NHS funding.

Harefield Hospital is a place that’ll always be special to my family. 5 years ago during March 2015 my sister Joanne was rushed to hospital after being ill with flu-like symptoms for 4 days. She was sedated and we were told she had sepsis. The following day she had deteriorated into a life threatening condition. Her heart was pumping at 5-15%. This is when she was transferred to Harefield Hospital. Shortly after arriving the doctors made the decision to put her onto ECMO (a machine that heavily supports heart and lung function) as well as other types of life support such as a ventilator, dialysis machine and many medication infusions. After days of treatment, tests and our friends and family wondering how this could happen to a healthy young woman, the test results were back. Joanne had tested positive for swine flu and had a heavy growth of staphylococcus aureus with a toxin PVL in her lungs. However despite the odds being heavily stacked against her survival, still in a critical condition her right lung having collapsed and being registered for a heart transplant as a precaution, with the expert care of many of the staff at Harefield hospital's ITU things started to slowly improve. After 6 days Joanne's heart function was up to 54%. She continued on ECMO for 9 days before being switched to a hemolung (a lung support machine) for 5 days. After the longest 2 1/2 weeks ever she was finally awake! She gradually got better over the coming weeks. Now only on oxygen and a lot less medication she became known as "the miracle" among the nurses. Joanne was allowed outside to see her son Gino, only 6 months old at the time for the first time in 3 weeks. After a month at Harefield she was moved to a hospital closer to home, as she no longer required specialist care. She was sent home after 5 1/2 weeks. Joanne's recovery was a first and such a success story the doctors wrote a medical case report on her and the treatment she was given. I have since read stories of other people falling critically ill and being saved in the same way.

We could never say or do enough to thank everyone involved in giving my sister the life saving care and treatment she received. So I’ll push out of my comfort zone first by doing a wing walk followed by the 100 mile Ride London. The funds raised will go towards much needed equipment which will help them to continue their amazing work as they save many more lives.

Chris Hyatt