He was running the race to honor his own tragic loss, and now thanks to him, he’s prevented others from having to do the same.
RAF medic Dan Swales was running the Great North Run in honor of his infant son, Noah Theodore. Noah tragically passed from complications arising from a rare form of meningitis 18 months prior. Dan’s run was to raise funds for 4Louis, a charity that provides keepsakes for bereaved parents.
Then in the midst of his run, he was called upon to prevent another tragedy.
Swales, 34, told The Mirror about what happened about six miles into the run. “I glanced at the man running next to me, asked him if he was all right and he said ‘no, not really – I feel dizzy.’ I put my arm around him and took him to the side, then he collapsed on the floor.”
Another runner, a nurse turned fireman, noticed the man, and together he and Swales realized he wasn’t breathing. The duo had the proper training, so they went to work.
“At pretty much the same time, we both realized we couldn’t feel a pulse so we went into CPR. An armed response police officer came over from the other side of the road with a medibag. I explained I was a medic and the other man was an ex-nurse, so they let us take the lead. The police officer took over the CPR while we started protecting his airways, putting oxygen in him and attaching defibrillator pads.”
He explained how his instincts took over, and that he has familiarity with CPR and the defibrillator for multiple reasons.
“If the defibrillator hadn’t been there, and the right people at the right time, it could have been another story. But I’m a medic – I did it with my own son and I’ve done it many times before.”
The defibrillator successfully resuscitated the man, whose family thanked Swales on Facebook: “You are amazing and the whole family wants to say thank you.”
It was in his son’s memory that Daniel was running the race, and he and his partner, Vicky Simmons, continue to raise money in his memory on their Facebook page.