Fife man who suffered cardiac arrest while surfing thanks ‘amazing’ lifesavers

Bill, left, with Mitch, one of the surfers who saved his life.Bill, left, with Mitch, one of the surfers who saved his life.
Bill, left, with Mitch, one of the surfers who saved his life.
A St Andrews man who had a sudden cardiac arrest while on East Sands is raising funds for the British Heart Foundation in honour of the local community.

Bill Shackman was surfing at the beach in December when he started to feel unwell and collapsed, suffering a sudden cardiac arrest.

Three fellow surfers saved his life, performing CPR, using the defibrillator located at the beach, and then calling the emergency services.

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The 47-year-old is now on the road to recovery and, with wife Emily Michelson, wants to raise funds for the BHF and awareness of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – a serious heart condition he was diagnosed with at Ninewells.

“Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is an inherited condition where the walls of the heart chamber gradually thicken and become stiff,” said Emily.

“This condition affects one in 500 people but it often shows no symptoms until the worst happens.

“It had no impact on Bill until his cardiac arrest. He knew that many people in his family had suffered sudden heart failure, but didn’t know there was a diagnosis for this. Now he will be regularly screened and monitored, as will his children.

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“BHF funds research into diagnosing and treating this very common condition. We want to draw attention to their efforts so that other people can be diagnosed before it’s too late.”

Emily thanked the “amazing” surfers and medics who saved Bill’s life. She said he is now making an “excellent recovery”.

As Bill recovers from the sudden cardiac arrest, the pair now want to raise funds for the BHF.

Emily added: “We are focused on Bill’s recovery at the moment but would like to organise an outdoor fundraising event in the spring, as well as CPR training. In the meantime we have started a JustGiving page for BHF in honour of the St Andrews community which has been so supportive:”

Bill and Emily want to raise £1500 and, at the time of writing, are at £1109.

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