‘Miracle’ footballer, Fabrice Muamba joins Canterbury rugby cardiac arrest survivor to campaign for more defibrillators

Ex-Bolton Wanderers footballer, Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped beating for 78 minutes following an on-pitch cardiac arrest in March 2012, joined Canterbury amateur rugby player Mark Jones, also a cardiac arrest survivor, to call on more defibrillators to be available at sports clubs, businesses and town centres.

Speaking in Canterbury on Saturday 1 June, as part of ‘The Gathering’, Canterbury Diocese’s two day festival of faith, Muamba talked about the role faith and prayer played in his remarkable recovery.

Describing the events that led to his cardiac arrest at the FA Cup quarter final match between Bolton and Tottenham Hotspurs at White Hart Lane, Fabrice said: “It’s a miracle I am here.”

Accompanied by the Chaplain of Bolton, Revd Phil Mason, and speaking in the talk entitled ‘Beyond the final whistle’, Fabrice continued: “My situation really couldn’t get any worse. I had died. My heart stopped beating for 78 minutes. If you are down for more than five minutes you should have severe brain damage, but I have no brain damage. I thank God for that.”

The incident, which was broadcast live around the world, led to millions of people praying for Muamba’s recovery. “Prayer was the biggest medicine, the biggest factor in my recovery.” He continued: “The incident showed that God can work miracles.”

In the 300 strong audience was Canterbury rugby player and coach, Mark Jones, who also suffered an on-pitch cardiac arrest earlier this year.

The two men met after Fabrice’s talk to swap stories of their amazing survival.

Both Mr Jones and Fabrice Mumba received life-saving treatment on pitch thanks to the presence of defibrillators, machines that help shock the heart so that it resumes beating.

Both are calling on businesses, schools and town and city centres, along with sports clubs, to install defibrillators as part of the ‘Hearts and Goals’ campaign, with the hope of saving more of the estimated 100,000 people who suffer cardiac arrests each year.

Other notable speakers at ‘The Gathering’, which took place in Canterbury Cathedral and precincts on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June, included Melvyn Bragg and Tottenham MP David Lammy, who spoke about the need to transform society.

The completion of a 51,400 lego brick picture of the Cathedral was just one of the children’s activities that took place at ‘The Gathering’ on Saturday.

-Ends-

Photo Shows: Fabrice Muamba and Mark Jones at Canterbury Cathedral

For further Information: Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Canterbury

Diocese – 07876 210 446 or eshepherd@diocant.org

More information about The Gathering – http://www.the-gathering.co.uk/

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