Allistair and Michelle Berry

Exactly seven months after her husband’s heart stopped beating, Michelle is taking on an ultramarathon to raise money for the charity that saved his life.

In their home in Ely at 5:30 am on Tuesday, 20th June, Michelle woke up to her husband, Allistair’s, body jolting as he suffered a cardiac arrest in bed next to her. “His heart had stopped beating,” Michelle describes, “he gave his last breath, and was gone.”

“With the help of the 999 call handler, I performed CPR until the ambulance crews arrived. It was probably only for about 15 minutes, but at the time it felt like forever. As I was fighting to bring my husband back to life, I was so grateful when the first crew arrived to take over.”

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) paramedic crew were able to restart Ali’s heart using a defibrillator. And not long afterwards the Magpas Air Ambulance medical team arrived.

Due to their advanced training, the Magpas Air Ambulance doctor and critical care paramedic were able to provide Ali with hospital-level medical care, right there in their house. To protect his brain, Doctor Rich and Critical Care Paramedic Thomas placed Ali in a medically induced coma and took over his breathing. And once he was stable enough, escorted him to Papworth Hospital, monitoring his condition throughout the journey.

At hospital, the cardiologists discovered his cardiac arrest had been caused by a heart attack and they put stents in to open his arteries again. Michelle continues, “On the third day he was brought out of his coma. It was a huge relief that, both physically and neurologically, he’d come through it well—and after just one week in hospital, he came home.

Allistair in Papworth Hospital, after coming out of his coma

“Only 1 in 10 people survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK. Without the excellent emergency medical care we received that day, the outcome probably wouldn’t have been so good. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping Magpas Air Ambulance, so they can continue to operate and help more people like my Ali.”

This Saturday, 20th January 2024—exactly seven months on from Allistair’s cardiac arrest—Michelle is tackling the ‘Peddars Way Trail 48 mile Ultra Marathon’ to raise vital funds for Magpas Air Ambulance. The trail runs from Knettishall Heath in Suffolk to Holme-next-the-sea on the north Norfolk coast, but Michelle’s not letting the huge feat stand in her way.

Magpas Air Ambulance is a charity which can only continue to save lives 24/7 thanks to generous public donations and fundraisers such as this one. To spur Michelle on as she takes on her biggest challenge yet, and help a local lifesaving charity, you can donate to her Just Giving page.

Allistair and Michelle have always been keen runnersLR