Anna, who is 17 and from Belfast, teamed up with the St. John Ambulance and Ulster Hockey to deliver the training to hockey teams throughout the north and encourage more people to learn how to do CPR.
Anna said: “I wasn’t there when it happened but one of my fellow rowers had a cardiac arrest on the River Lagan when I was 13. Another person there gave him CPR, which undoubtedly saved his life. I remember arriving and thinking that if I was there, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge or confidence to save his life. That’s where it all started and why I target the under 13 age group; because I was 13 then. I’m giving the training to these people and then hopefully they will pass it on to people around them. It’s giving a leaflet and sharing on social media - that’s sharing the awareness, which is my main aim.
“There’s not enough people in Northern Ireland who know how to save a life. Yes, adults can be trained which is great and keeps up the numbers. But we’re providing the under 13s with confidence. That’s a difficult age for some kids as they’re finding their own feet so it’s about providing them with the confidence too.
“The message I want to send out is that hopefully you’ll never have to use this but if you do, you have the confidence to do it. You can think back to the session with me where we broke down the steps and you get over your fight or flight and go from there.
“Someone who has just had a cardiac arrest is helpless and anything you do increases their chances of survival. You have to think, ‘I’m here to help this person.’ Hopefully, more people will be aware of this and go and get the training. It’s not as hard as you think it is, you just need to have that knowledge. I have an AED trainer that I let the kids use to practice on and they’re always shocked at how easy it is. If they know what the box feels like and how to open it, that all helps. Everyone should know how to save a life.”
Kristel Cunningham, Youth Co-ordinator at Priorians, said: “The girls really enjoyed the training. It was really engaging and the girls left more confident in themselves that they could get up in front of their friends. Priorians have two paramedics and a nurse who are members of our club and we have a defibrillator that we carry ourselves on match day, so we’re hoping that they will go on between now and the summer to do the defibrillator training for the whole club.”