Tanya Barlow


In June 2018 I was attending my regular Parkrun event at Blackbutt Reserve in Newcastle, a  5km weekly timed event. I was 55 years of age, married, 2 adult children and  in excellent health (so I thought). I was approximately 500 metres from the finishing line and was running with a friend , All of a sudden I felt faint,  no pain and then nothing. I awoke several hours later in the John Hunter Hospital.I had suffered a SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest). A fellow runner coming from behind me , ran to the finish line to alert others that there was an incident. With  the quick thinking of fellow runners and the availability of a AED that had recently been purchased through fundraising , an off duty doctor, a nurse, a volunteer surf lifesaver and an army officer, ran back and were all able to provide the necessary CPR and 2 shocks from the life saving defibrillator, to get my heart started again and provide the necessary care until the ambulance arrived . My estimated down time was 10-15 minutes.I have no recollection of those “lights out moments” but upon regaining consciousness, I was very confused and vague when I woke later that afternoon. It took a few days for the fog to clear. As it turns out, my condition is that of an electrical problem whereby there was an abnormal heart rhythm due to disorganised electrical activity, resulting in cardiac arrest.Day 3 after the SCA , this condition resulted in me having an implantable device (defibrillator /pacemaker)  fitted and being discharged from hospital the following day. I returned to work the next week .My life has returned to normal with my family and other loved ones. I exercise regularly and have plenty of energy for a 60 year old woman. It’s an extraordinary event to have happen in one’s life, especially knowing the survival rate is so low.  I’m eternally grateful for the quick and first responders that had the CPR training and knowledge to put me in that bracket of  “survivor”, which highlights the importance to have more people educated in the practice of CPR.Without the CPR provided by others and the availability of the AED ,I certainly wouldn’t have been here to have enjoyed the last 5 years. There is not a day in my life where I don’t think how lucky I am !