A Pembrokeshire woman who suffered several cardiac arrests has created a charity calendar in honour of the Wales Air Ambulance crew who saved her life.

In May 2017, Elizabeth Summers was at home in Goodwick when she started to feel unwell and collapsed.

Elizabeth’s husband Neil recalls the frightening experience: “It was lucky that I was at home when Eliz suffered her heart attack. I immediately began CPR and rung not only 999 but also our son Steve who is a part-time firefighter.

“When Steve arrived, he continued CPR for a further twenty minutes before help arrived.”

Through the efforts of Neil, Steve and the paramedics from Fishguard Ambulance Station, Elizabeth’s heart restarted but her experience was not over.

She was transferred straight from her home to the waiting Wales Air Ambulance helicopter that had landed on Goodwick United playing fields.

Neil added: “I remember one of the Wales Air Ambulance crew telling me that the moment Eliz was in their care she was already effectively in an intensive care unit.”

On duty that day were ‘Welsh Flying Medics’ Dr Ami Jones, Dr Beth Barton and Critical Care Practitioner Rhyan Curtin. The pilot was Captain Andy Iceton.

Dr Jones said: “Elizabeth’s story is one of a real “chain of survival” success. Had Elizabeth’s family not performed immediate effective CPR and called for help, and had the Welsh Ambulance crew not done an excellent job with advanced life support then, without question, she would not have had such a positive outcome.

“When we arrived, Elizabeth’s heart was beating by itself, but her blood pressure was still very low, and she was deeply unconscious. We gave her an anaesthetic that allowed us to insert a breathing tube. We also gave her drugs that would help her heart to beat more strongly and raise her blood pressure. Taking over Elizabeth’s breathing meant that we could protect her lungs and that gave her damaged heart and brain the best chance of recovery.

“We diagnosed a likely heart attack so getting her to the specialist cardiac centre in Morriston Hospital as quickly as possible was vital. If we hadn’t been there for Elizabeth, all of these procedures and her transfer to the cardiac centre would have been significantly delayed.”

Elizabeth was flown from her home in Goodwick to Morriston in just 25 minutes, a journey that would have taken over an hour by road.

Upon arrival at Morriston Hospital, Elizabeth suffered a third cardiac arrest during surgery, and she spent almost a month in a coma before showing small signs of improvement. After several weeks in hospital, she was discharged and started her long road to recovery.

Elizabeth said: “Following my ordeal, I can safely say I would not be here today if it wasn’t for my family and the wonderful medics who saved my life.

“I cannot thank the medics of Wales Air Ambulance enough for what they did for me.”

In support of the Wales Air Ambulance charity, Elizabeth decided to start her own fundraising initiative.

She said: “I had to do something to repay those who worked tirelessly to save my life, so I decided to hold a photoshoot with twelve local ladies. They included my daughter Michelle, granddaughter Georgia and my two sisters Irene and Sandra.

“What we came up with in the end was a classy calendar with all the ladies dressed up in costume. The calendars are on sale now and all proceeds raised will be donated to Wales Air Ambulance.”

The ‘Hat’s Off’ 2019 calendars are on sale now and can be purchased from Sanz in Fishguard and Belmont House, St David’s. Further information can be found by emailing Elizabeth directly: [email protected]