A group of Isle of Wight NHS workers are preparing to walk 70 miles around the Island in 24 hours, in a bid to raise money for the air ambulance charity that helped save the life of their friend and partner, Paul, when he had a heart attack in July 2022.
Jenn, 41, Alex, 28, and Maddie, 24, were inspired to strap on their walking boots to say thank you after Paul, 52, an NHS pharmacy worker, was airlifted to Queen Alexandra Hospital from St. Mary’s Hospital.
“We were all at the beach where Paul had planned to join us later in the day for a BBQ,” said Maddie.
Paul messaged the group: “Don’t worry too much, but I’m having chest pains and I’ve just booked myself into hospital – they’re doing my bloods now.”
“He told us he was being airlifted to Portsmouth,” said Maddie. “We immediately panicked but tried to remain calm.”
Jenn rushed home to grab some things for Paul, while Maddie headed straight to the hospital.
“I was greeted by the Air Ambulance team who were preparing Paul for his flight,” said Maddie. “He continued to have a massive smile on his face – he doesn’t like to make a fuss!”
Paul needed multiple stents fitted and required further surgery three days later, where he was found to have an 80% heart blockage. Following successful surgery and recovery, Paul has become well enough to return to work and even attends the gym five days a week.
“We felt it only made sense to raise money for the service that saved Paul’s life. They were amazing,” said Maddie.
The group have so far raised £1,134 and are hoping to keep the total rising before they set off on their gruelling long-distance walk on 27 May.
The trio have had huge support from the local community, including the ‘Love Running Tuesday Nighters’ club, who are holding a fundraising run for all its members to get involved in.
Paul’s connection to the air ambulance charity continued later that year when his mum, Maureen, was airlifted to hospital when she suffered a brain stem stroke. Maureen returned to St. Mary’s Hospital but her condition did not improve. Maureen sadly passed away in a hospice on 28 November 2022.
Jenn, Alex and Maddie said:
“We are all eternally grateful for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance and all they do.”
To support Jenn, Alex and Maddie on their walk, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/iowcoastalwalknhs