A north-east youngster has been handed a defibrillator to keep her community safe after her crusade struck a chord with the mum of tragic teenager Keiran McKandie.
Upon finding out that the nearest resuscitation device to Crudie was located in the next town over, and the nearest hospital some 30 miles away in Aberdeen, Olivia Rees started her own fundraising crusade to ensure vulnerable people in the village were looked after.
Motivated by a conversation with her dad, the 13-year-old planned and participated in a number of events with the hopes of raising £3,000.
Inspired by the youngster’s efforts, defibrillator charity Keiran’s Legacy have now stepped in and donated a device to the people of Crudie.
As a thank you for the charity’s intervention, the teenager has donated all of the £455 she managed to raise to their cause.
And Olivia now plans to redirect the charitable efforts she had planned for later in the year to help further the group’s mission.
Housed at Crudie School, it is hoped that the safety equipment doesn’t have to be used, but it could give someone that much more of a fighting chance if required.
Statistics showcase defibrillators have a big impact on survival
Statistics show that correct and effective use of a defibrillator, along with CPR being performed within five minutes of cardiac arrest, increases people’s chances of survival from 6% to 74%.
Olivia’s mum, Annie Rees, said: “We are so proud of Olivia, this all came about after a conversation with her dad in the car.
“Since then she has been on her own mission to help secure a defibrillator.
“She is now planning on raising money for Keiran’s Legacy after they so generously donated a defibrillator.”
Excited with the new addition to her community, the teenager has set her sights on obtaining a gold Blue Peter badge.
She said: “I’m extremely pleased that we managed to get a defibrillator, hopefully it never has to be used, but it is there to help just in case.”
Keiran’s Legacy continues to help rural communities
The Moray based charity has provided more than 90 life-saving devices over the past five years – a legacy that has helped save lives.
It was established after Keiran McKandie, from Miltonduff, died in March 2016 after being hit by a car while on his bike near his home on the outskirts of Elgin.
The nearest ambulance was 38 miles away, and police who arrived on scene had no equipment to help try and save him.
In his name, family and friends have tried to ensure this situation never happens again – by providing defibrillators and education to as many rural communities as possible.
Keiran’s mum and charity chairwoman, Sandra McKandie, said she was “touched” by Olivia’s eagerness to look out for others.
She added: “Olivia is a very special lady and it was touching for someone so young to want to get involved and continue Keiran’s legacy.
“Having seen her posts on social media I sent an email to her mum asking how we could help, and it just took off from there.
“It is vital that we get devices and education to as many rural communities as possible, the statistics show just how important they can be.”
Just last month dancing nurses and participants of a virtual Kiltwalk managed to raise £15,444 for the charity.
The money will go a long way to helping install life-saving devices across Scotland.
Mrs McKandie added: “For such a small charity we have done exceptionally well, and with the help of people such as Olivia we can continue to further Keiran’s legacy.”
Fundraisers hit by Covid situation in Moray
Coming up to what would have been Keiran’s 22nd birthday, plans to fundraise around the event have had to be put on hold due to coronavirus restrictions in Moray.
However, family members are keen to restart efforts as soon as restrictions allow.
Having donated the device and its housing unit, the cost of installing it has been taken on by the local community council.
Chairman Andy Sturdy said: “A huge vote of thanks is due to Olivia for getting this started and seen through to its conclusion.
“Thanks also to everyone else who has been involved in any way.”
Aberdeenshire Council agreed for the device to be fitted to the wall of the school and formal ownership to be passed to the community council.
Julia Rickard, headteacher of Crudie School, added: “Crudie is a rural community and this is a fantastic piece of life-saving equipment to have right at the heart of it.
“It is so wonderful that Kieran’s Legacy were able to fund the unit and we are delighted to have been able to provide the location for the equipment.
“Our thanks go to Olivia and her mum, the community council, and Aberdeenshire Council for the massive effort in making it all happen.”