Seven year old Jakob Harrison from Maidenbower is a very happy young man. But it was only a few years ago that he suffered with a stammering problem.
His parents began to notice a problem when he was three.
His father Chris explained:
“We’ve found in the earlier years that adults reacted more severely than other children. However as he has started school and met new children along the way he came across the odd moment of kids not initially understanding what to do and the odd child being unkind.”
“We left it a couple of months to see if it would be something he’d grow out of which is common but when we realised it wasn’t going away we then got him an appointment”
It was during Jakob’s therapy that Chris discovered the charity Action for Stammering Children.
“A stammer is a terrible thing to overcome and have the confidence to talk to people and make friends. It can also be heartbreaking as a parent to see your child struggle in this way.”
5% of children will stammer at some point in childhood with 1% of those continuing into adulthood.
For Jakob the therapy has made a huge difference.
“Jakob still stammers from time to time now. Usually in moments of tiredness, stress or excitement. He is happy with how he copes at the moment so doesn’t see the therapist regularly but does check in with them on a six monthly basis to ensure he is still fine.”
Chris continues, “Whenever he has come across any problems he knows to tell an adult and school in particular have been great at raising awareness among the class. His classmates really are understanding of him now and give him the time he needs when the stammer pops up.”
Having seen how well Jakob has done and the importance of the charity he was inspired to now help other children through the charity.
Having previously ran a marathon and other small races he is now about to take on his biggest challenge yet. A massive double challenge starting with abseiling the ArcelorMittal Orbital Tower on 24th June 2017 and then riding the DIFC London to Brighton cycle ride in September 2017.
Chris wants to get as much support as he can and has setup a Just Giving page.
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Life-saving heart restarters fitted to over 50 Sussex stations
Amber Rudd MP and Home Secretary attended the opening event to unveil the new life-saving heart restarter at Southern’s Rye station.
Life-saving heart restarters have been fitted to over 50 stations across Sussex through a partnership between The Sussex Heart Charity (SHC) and Southern, owned and operated by Govia Thameslink Railway.
SHC first launched the programme two years ago as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations and has invested £100,000 in the programme.
The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP helped celebrate the installation of one of the latest at Rye station on Friday (16 March) and heard that, by the summer, there will be an automated external defibrillator (AED) at either every station in the county and border towns or in the local community nearby.
Cardiac patient Steve Morris, whose life was saved by an AED, showed how easy the device is to use in a demonstration in Rye Station waiting room. SHC provided funding for his training and equipment to become a qualified Community Resuscitation Trainer.
Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown said:
“This is a fantastic partnership that has the potential to save lives right across the county. Our railways are at the heart of our communities and it’s only right that they have the machinery to aid the hearts of an unfortunate passenger who may suffer a heart attack.”
Dr Rachael James, Consultant Cardiologist and Volunteer Co-Chair of The Sussex Heart Charity said:
“It is essential that defibrillation be administered as soon as possible following the cardiac arrest. If the heart does not return to a regular rhythm within 5-7 minutes, this fibrillation could be fatal. That is why fitting AEDs close by where they may be most needed is so helpful. Providing some form or basic life support (CPR), especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, said:
“I am delighted to have attended the launch of Sussex Heart Charity’s defibrillator campaign at Rye Station. The charity are doing fantastic work to install automated external defibrillators in train stations throughout Sussex. It is such an important initiative that could help save lives in our towns and I am pleased Rye station has become a part of it.”
The charity has provided the equipment, while GTR teams carried out the installation. The defibrillators are placed on the station where they can be reached by anyone from the village or town they are based in, meaning they can benefit the entire community and not just passengers on board Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink stations.
The defibrillators, which can restart a heart that has stopped or is beating arrhythmically due to a cardiac arrest or other condition, are automatic and provide step-by-step voice prompts so they can be used by anyone.
Terry Ayres, Chief Executive Officer at the Sussex Heart Charity, said:
“Projects such as this highlight the value of supporting local charities. We are really grateful to the people of Sussex who take part in our annual sponsored walk – attend our events throughout the year and support us through monthly giving and volunteering – enabling us to develop projects such as this that have a direct impact on them locally.”
Jason Palmer, Volunteer Director and Vice Chair of The Board of Trustees, said:
“I am eternally grateful to our former Chair and Director, Andy Forsyth, for having the faith in me to step up to Vice Chair and taking this project forward under the joint chairmanship of Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Rachel James and Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Mike Lewis.
“This was an initial idea of Ruth Forsyth as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, a former director and board member of The Sussex Heart Charity, who suggested investigating the possibility of installing a defibrillator at her local Railway Station at Haywards Heath. My former career working for the railway and later central Government, enabled me to be well placed to renew industry and civil service friendships and develop one AED installation at Haywards Heath Station into a countywide project – covering all Sussex railway stations and probably a world first!”