Our research helped Sarah get home for Christmas

Sarah Walsh

Sarah Walsh never imagined she’d have a heart attack and a cardiac arrest just three days before Christmas. But thanks to our research, she was home with her family in time to celebrate the special day.

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Preparing for Christmas

To prepare for Christmas celebrations, Sarah and her mum went to the supermarket to do a big Christmas food shop. Laughing over a cup of tea back at her mum’s house, Sarah started to feel hot, sweaty and nauseous.

After an ambulance was called, the paramedics did an ECG and told Sarah she was having a heart attack. This means the flow of blood to part of Sarah’s heart muscle was blocked, starving it of oxygen.

Just moments after hearing this frightening news, Sarah had a cardiac arrest. A cardiac arrest means the heart stops beating, which stops oxygen-rich blood reaching the brain and body. 

Aged 48 and healthy, Sarah never expected something so heartless to happen at Christmas.

Heart disease impacts loved ones too

While the paramedic unpacked the defibrillator to restart Sarah’s heart, her husband Keith helped save Sarah’s life by performing CPR

Sarah says, “I don’t recall a lot about that day, but Keith will never, ever forget it. I think this experience has been 100 times worse for him. He is very protective of me now.”

Our research meant Sarah was home for Christmas

Sarah’s heart attack was caused by the build-up of plaque in one of her arteries.

Thanks to our research into treatment of heart attacks, Sarah was prescribed clot-busting drugs, was fitted with a stent, and made it home in time for Christmas Day. 

Find out more about our research into heart attack treatments here.

Making the most of life

Since her heart attack, Sarah has undergone cardiac rehab to help her rebuild her life. She says, “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.”

Now, almost a year on, Sarah is healthy and enjoying the simple things in life - walking her dog, reading, and spending quality time with those closest to her. 

Looking forward to Christmas this year

Sarah and her family are looking to the future, and can’t wait to celebrate Christmas in style this year. Sarah says, “Christmas is usually a big day for us. I made it home in time for Christmas last year, but I was so tired and teary.

“I’m so grateful to be here to celebrate Christmas this year with my beautiful family. This year is going to be amazing!” more people beat heart disease this Christmas

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