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Health & Fitness: North East hidden disabilities group fund defibrillator for their community

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Durhams Haven has raised enough money to install a defibrillator in their meeting hall, called © Provided by The Northern Echo Durhams Haven has raised enough money to install a defibrillator in their meeting hall, called (Image: Sarah Caldecott)"/>

A support group for those with hidden disabilities has installed a defibrillator after learning that their community did not have enough, putting those with cardiac conditions at risk.

Durhams Haven, a group for those with hidden disabilities caused by chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis, and multiple sclerosis, installed a defibrillator in their meeting hall, called "the Hut", on Chestnut Grove in Ushaw Moor.

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Supported by an anonymous benefactor, Brandon and Byshottes Parish Council, and Rotary North East, the group raised over £1000 for to purchase and maintain the device.

The 184 members have been left feeling "chuffed to bits" with their achievement - which is meaningful for the group, as many have been left feeling desolated by their conditions.

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Su Madden, the group's founder, told The Northern Echo: "We had a substantial donation to the group, and together we decided that we wanted to put it towards a defibrillator for the community.

The Northern Echo: The group are chuffed with their achievement. © Provided by The Northern Echo The Northern Echo: The group are chuffed with their achievement. The group are chuffed with their achievement. (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

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"We think there was only one in the village previously, and having done first aid training we were aware of how important it is to have one close by when there is a medical emergency."

When someone suffers cardiac arrest, prompt treatment is key, meaning proximal defibrillators are important. Being within 200m of a defibrillator massively increases a patient's chances of survival. By Su's estimations, nearly a mile of housing estates were left unprotected.

Su said: "With where the last one was positioned if you didn't have a car, you had a much slimmer chance of survival."

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"Durhams Haven support group promotes positivity," Su explained, "there is a huge downside to being in pain every minute, but as a support group we try to bring the joy back into life."

"Previously, lots of people were really suffering and felt alone, and some even stopped wanting to live, but we have seen a huge change for the better in people."

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Though Su explained that the group were not well off, they have enough money to cover rent for the next 18 months and wanted to do something to help the community.

The group has also opened their doors up to the community, providing a warm space for people who are unable to heat their homes during the energy crisis.

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