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Saving lives with LIVES

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Through Lincolnshire Co-op's Community Champions scheme, members, shoppers, and colleagues will be not only be raising money for community defibrillators, but also supporting local responder groups – a cause that is very familiar to one Lincolnshire Co-op colleague.

By day, Nicola O’Connor studies Pharmacy and works as a Checking Technician at Kirton Pharmacy. But when she’s not serving the local community at the pharmacy, Nicola is saving lives as a volunteer across Lincolnshire and beyond, with the emergency first responder charity LIVES.

Nicola has worked for Lincolnshire Co-op for ten years and first became interested in volunteering for LIVES when she saw an ad at her GP’s office eight years ago. Since then, she’s advanced to a Level Three responder which means she’s qualified to attend pediatric and trauma related emergencies.

Normally, Nicola will finish work at Kirton Pharmacy at 6pm and, after changing into her LIVES uniform and checking her medical kit, she would be on call for the charity from 7pm until around 12pm. There’s no average week – sometimes she might not be called out at all or she may be called out multiple times a night, depending on how many 999 calls are made in her area.

Nicola has found that her combined experience from working in pharmacies and with LIVES has proved critical at times. On one occasion, a patient called the pharmacy and said he was struggling to breathe. Based on her knowledge, she encouraged him to ring 999. When he was taken to hospital, the medical staff found that he had eight litres of fluid on his lungs and needed to be admitted to intensive care.

A number of Lincolnshire Co-op outlets are raising funds to support LIVES this winter. Donations will help the charity continue their vital work in our communities. Nicola believes a lot of people may not realise the ongoing costs of running the service. She said: “It costs approximately £50 to change the pads on a defib. That means a £50 donation could essentially save someone’s life.

I responded to 100 callouts in 2019. My on-going training and equipment provided by LIVES is funded by the public. Donations are so important to responder groups; we rely on community support!”

Money raised through the Community Champions scheme will also contribute to training new volunteers and refresher training for existing responders.

Nicola said: “Sometimes I’ve been in a Lincolnshire Co-op food store in my LIVES uniform and people have acknowledged and thanked me.

“LIVES have really built up a good reputation in the community, and the support from local people is incredible.”

Read more and find out which cause you’re supporting here.

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