In July, Carly Williams had spent the day helping her little sister, Jodie, get ready for her wedding. Months later, the maid of honor wouldn’t remember any of it.
According to the Sun, Jodie was in place for the ceremony in front of 100 guests when she heard a commotion from behind. She turned to find Williams laying in another bridesmaid’s lap.
In an interview with News Shopper, Jodie explained she thought her sister was pulling a stunt:
“I thought ‘oh my God what is she doing’! I thought she was having a panic attack and had passed out, so at first I thought she was being a drama queen.”
Jodie recounted that at first, her bridesmaids said her sister was having a fit but then their mother started screaming, News Shopper reported.
Jodie told the Sun:
“I honestly thought, ‘What is she doing?’ I just thought she was being a drama queen to be honest. I thought it was a bit over the top. Then it quickly became apparent that it was serious.
Mum was screaming, ‘Get a defibrillator’ and then my cousins came forward.”
As News Shopper reports, Jodie was removed from the room and returned a short time later to find her cousins and a guest performing CPR:
“I came back into the room. I was just in shock and so nothing really registered with me. My mum was screaming and she’s usually quite calm.”
Jodie revealed that even though she heard someone say “she’s not coming around,” she didn’t understand what was happening. Williams was taken to St. Thomas’ Hospital where it was discovered she suffered a heart attack.
By the time Jodie arrived her sister had already been placed into an induced coma. The family was told there was a chance she wouldn’t make it, according to News Shopper.
However, after a month in the hospital and a surgery to implant a device into her heart, Williams pulled through.
Jodie credits her cousins and the hotel’s defibrillator for saving her sister’s life.
As she told the Sun:
“It’s only because our cousins knew CPR and there was a defibrillator that she’s here.”
Williams was outfitted with an internal defibrillator; doctors do not know the cause of her heart attack.
The sisters are now working to ensure every school in their district of Bromley, London, England has a defibrillator and that teachers are trained in how to use them. Williams and Jodie plan to establish a charity to help raise money after learning that schools in their area are not required to have defibrillators, reports News Shopper.
In the United States, all fifty states have enacted laws and regulations requiring the placement of AED devices in public gathering spaces, according to AEDbrands. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation reports that 17 states require the placement of AEDs in public schools (three of which require private school installation, as well).
According to the SCA Foundation, sudden cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. affecting 350,000 people in an EMS-assessed, out-of-hospital, non-traumatic setting. Nine out of ten people who experience sudden cardiac arrest die. As the foundation explains:
SCA is a life-threatening condition, but it can be treated successfully with CPR, defibrillation, advanced cardiac life support, and mild therapeutic hypothermia. When bystanders intervene immediately by giving CPR and using automated external defibrillators (AEDs) before EMS arrives, survival rates increase from an average of 10 percent to 50 percent.
As part of that fifty percent, Williams knows just how lucky she is to be alive — even if she can’t remember anything from her sister’s big day. As she told the Sun:
“I’m lucky to be alive, but I feel so guilty about ruining my sister’s big day. In all honesty I can’t really remember much at all. The last thing I remember is being on the train in the morning. […] Literally there’s a massive gap and I remember waking up two days later in hospital and just not having a clue what had happened.”
Her sister, however, doesn’t seem too bothered as Jodie has plans for her nuptials to take place next year. Hopefully, with Williams by her side.