Runner helps to save man's life after cardiac arrest

Three people in red tops saying Red Sky Foundation. They are holding CPR kit and a defibrillator. The man to the left is Michael Donkin and he has short hair. The man in the middle is Sergio Petrucci and he has a beard and glasses. The woman to the right is Lisa Loftus. She has long dyed-red hair and glasses
Michael Donkin (left) used his CPR experience, along with Sergio Petrucci (centre) and Lisa Loftus (right) to safe the man's life [Red Sky Foundation]

A charity runner has told how he raced to save a man's life after he collapsed during a running event.

Michael Donkin was doing the Great North 10k in Newcastle when he spotted the man collapsed on the side of the road.

Mr Donkin - who is trained in CPR - rushed to his aid along with Sergio Petrucci, the founder of the Red Sky Foundation charity, which specialises in cardiac care.

"The care and help he got very quickly couldn't have been more textbook, even if you planned it in advance," said Mr Donkin.

They delivered the first of three shocks from a defibrillator, before an ambulance arrived to take the man to hospital, where he is continuing to recover.

'Gasping for air'

Mr Donkin said it was by pure chance was in a position to help the man during Sunday's run.

"I was meant to be running in the first wave but because of a series of events we ended up in the last wave," he said.

"We were a couple of minutes into the run and a gentleman collapsed to the side of us."

Michael running wearing a knight's costume with a red cape and carrying a plastic sword. His name is on his T-shirt
Michael was dressed as a knight during Sunday's 10km run [Michael Donkin ]

Mr Donkin noticed prior to the man's collapse he was agonal breathing, which is where someone is gasping for air.

Once he collapsed, he said he knew he had to step in.

"It became evident quickly that we needed to perform CPR - and luckily Sergio was just up the road with a defibrillator," he added.

Mr Petrucci, from Sunderland, said he carries he defibrillator with him "everywhere he goes", but it was his first time using it.

"We've been putting defibrillators all over public spaces, giving people the best chance to have their lives saved if they are going into cardiac arrest," he said.

Mr Donkin and Mr Petrucci were then joined by student nurse Lisa Loftus, who also stopped to help.

"As I was starting CPR, another runner stopped who happened to be a woman who was finishing her nursing degree and assisted too," Mr Donkin added.

Mr Petrucci described it as a "fairy tale ending".

"He was dressed as a knight in shining armour, while Lisa [the student nurse] had the hair of a unicorn and the defibrillator was in my hand ready to go!"

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