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Mum's shock at daughter's cardiac arrests, aged 12




A mum has told of her shock after her daughter suffered a series of cardiac arrests, aged just 12.

RELIEF: Tara Cooper with daughter Bethany, who suffered a series of cardiac arrests earlier this year. Picture by Mecha Morton.
RELIEF: Tara Cooper with daughter Bethany, who suffered a series of cardiac arrests earlier this year. Picture by Mecha Morton.

In October, Bethany Cooper, from Topcroft, was bowling with friends at the Namco Bowling Alley in Norwich.

With no warning, she fainted and suffered a series of cardiac arrests.

Her mum, Tara, said: “When I got the call, they just told me that she had fainted.

“It wasn’t until I got to the bowling alley that I realised how serious it was.

“There were about seven police cars, a couple of ambulances and emergency vehicles and the air ambulance was also on stand-by.

“It was a massive shock. I immediately thought ‘Oh my god, I have lost her, so suddenly, with no explanation and no reason’.”

At Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, the family was told that Bethany had suffered several cardiac arrests and that she might not survive.

“It was completely out of the blue,” said mother-of-three Tara, 37. “You don’t expect your child to drop down and have a cardiac arrest, that is unheard of at 12 years old.”

Bethany, who spent six week recovering in hospital, was put on life-support for almost a week and fitted with an internal pacemaker.

Her friends, also pupils of Long Stratton High School, have made it their mission to raise £600 for a defibrillator to be kept at the school and to be used by pupils, staff and the local community.

They have reached their target and raised enough money to train pupils and staff in CPR techniques.

Mum Tara is relieved: "Bethany was lucky when it happened, because she was in the middle of Norwich city centre. We are a 35 minute drive from the nearest hospital, the nearest defibrillator is five to ten minutes away. Had she been at home when it happened, she might have died. Knowing that the school is now equipped with a defibrillator puts my mind at ease a little."

Bethany (far right) with her friends and headteacher Dr Roger Harris, celebrating the installation of the new defibrillator.
Bethany (far right) with her friends and headteacher Dr Roger Harris, celebrating the installation of the new defibrillator.

Headteacher Dr Roger Harris said: “We are so thankful that Bethany is still with us. Her friends have done an amazing job and the way the local community has responded has been magnificent. It’s great to see the community come together like this.”

"The school would like to extend its gratitude to all those who sent Bethany their best wishes and donated so generously to this cause, including a donation of £176 from Mayfield Care Home and £500 from Darégal Gourmet Ltd."

In January, another group of pupils is planning to host a quiz night and raffle, including prizes donated by local businesses such as a champagne afternoon tea for two at St Giles House Hotel, a two course Sunday roast for two people at the Tuddenham Mill, a day pass to UEA Sports Park for two, beer tasting for two at Brew Dog Norwich, a family ticket to all Norfolk museums and much more. For more information, contact the school.

Bethany has now returned to school and is on the way to making a full recovery.



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