THE legacy of a teenager who tragically died after suffering a cardiac arrest could help save lives in the future.
Seventeen-year-old Sarah Morgan collapsed on a bus on her way home from shopping in Waterlooville with her friends.
Despite the desperate attempts of the bus driver, Sarah could not be revived and her parents, Anna and Alan Morgan, had to make the agonising decision a week later to switch off her life support machine.
But a defibrillator – which shocks the heart back into action – could have saved her life.
Now Anna and Alan are determined to make sure there are more of the life-saving devices in public places.
Since Sarah’s death in March, the couple, with the help of the community and friends, have helped to raise almost £7,000.
Three new defibrillators are now installed at Havant and Chichester bus stations, Portsmouth bus depot, and two more are planned for other locations.
‘Living our life without Sarah is difficult,’ said Anna, a care manager, of Redwood Grove, Havant.
‘But knowing that somewhere there’s a chance someone could be saved makes us feel better for our loss.’
Sarah was a happy, healthy teenager who attended South Downs College.
At 6ft 2in tall, she had an interest in becoming a model and had recently got a job she adored working as a waitress at The Langstone Hotel on Hayling Island.
Nothing was particularly untoward the night before her death, but Anna remembers Sarah was breathing heavily and it was thought she had a sinus infection.
Alan dropped her off at the pharmacist in the morning to pick up some Sudafed and Sarah went to college that day and later met some friends in Waterlooville. She was travelling alone on the bus to Havant when she suddenly went into cardiac arrest.
Anna fights back tears as she remembers the call she got from the stranger on the bus who found Sarah’s mobile phone.
Sarah was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital and kept in an induced coma.
‘Queen Alexandra Hospital were amazing to us – the nurses and staff,’ said Anna.
‘They treated Sarah with such dignity.
‘They pushed together two beds so my eldest daughter and I could spend the night cuddling her. They did everything.’
Anna added: ‘I knew in my heart she was going to be an angel, but I did not want it to be true.’
Sarah never recovered and died on March 10.
It was concluded that a virus – which went to the heart – had caused the cardiac arrest.
Anna said: ‘She was a good girl.
‘She was a beautiful, funny, lovely daughter. She touched so many people.
‘I think she has left that (legacy) now.
‘To her family and friends, she did not need one.
‘I just felt robbed for her.
‘I felt she was robbed of her passion, I felt the world was robbed.’
Alan, who works at Rolls Royce near Chichester, said: ‘It’s been traumatic. You can’t put it into words.
‘There’s a big hole. You don’t think it will ever happen to you.’
Her parents are now doing everything they can to get more defibrillators in the hope of preventing another family having to go through the same trauma.
Anna said: ‘If there had been a defibrillator, we might have got some of Sarah back because brain damage starts after three minutes.
‘If they are in as many places as possible, they can reached.
‘It’s letting people know that these devices are out there.
‘You can find out where they are.There’s just not enough of them.
‘We want to do this while we can, but our hearts will always be broken.’
Cycling in Sarah’s memory
COLLEAGUES from Stagecoach took part in a fundraising cycle ride from Portsmouth depot to Chichester depot in memory of Sarah.
Simon Davis, an assistant engineering manager for Stagecoach, was the organiser of the event entitled ‘Save a life, make a difference’.
The event raised more than £2,000.
Simon said: ‘With 100,000 deaths in Britain every year due to sudden cardiac arrest, there is a desperate need to save lives by ensuring that publicly accessible defibrillators are available everywhere.’
Anna and Alan also did a bucket collection at the Coventry vs Pompey friendly at Westleigh Park and raised more than £500.
On October 5, Sarah’s best friend Georgia Bishop will be shaving off her hair to raise more funds. To sponsor her visit crowdfunding.justgiving.com/georgia-bishop.