Edinburgh cardiac arrest survivor encourages more people to learn CPR

Publication date 04 November 2021

An Edinburgh man who nearly lost his life when he suffered a cardiac arrest at the gym has returned to the place it happened to take part in CPR and defibrillator training with his fellow gym-goers.

Ross Henderson from Edinburgh suffered a cardiac arrest during a regular workout at his gym, CrossFit Murrayfield.
Previously fit and healthy, Ross had been climbing Munros with his family only the week before.

It was as his workout was coming to an end one night on 30th June that he collapsed and stopped breathing.

Luckily for Ross, fellow gym-goer Cleo Blackford and gym owner Wull Graham knew what to do. Cleo started CPR while Wull fetched the gym’s defibrillator, which had been installed as part of St John Scotland’s St John and the City defibrillator project in Edinburgh.

Thanks to their quick actions, Ross is now well on the road to recovery and was fit enough to return to the gym and join a CPR and defibrillator awareness session led by St John Scotland volunteers.

More than 20 of Ross’ fellow gym members took part in the training to learn what to do should they witness a cardiac arrest.

Three people take part in CPR training

Ross said: "It’s very hard to express in words the thanks and gratitude I feel towards Wull and Cleo. Their quick action in applying CPR then using the gym’s defibrillator saved my life. 

“It was great to go back to the gym to learn the CPR techniques and how to use the defibrillator – I am living proof that these skills save lives.”

Although Ross’ life was saved, for the 70 people who suffer a cardiac arrest each week in Scotland, the outcome is not always a good one. Currently, only one in ten will survive.

St John Scotland wants to help more people survive a health crisis, to live longer, and better. Our volunteers work in communities across the country to save lives by helping provide Public Access Defibrillators and offering free CPR and defibrillator awareness training.

A man learns CPR

Ross knows from his experience how vital it is to have access to the training and equipment needed to save lives from cardiac arrest. He said: “Having defibrillators in gyms, and learning CPR, is so important. I would encourage all gyms to think about putting something in place.”