Ryk Downes is a Liberal Democrat Councillor for Otley & Yeadon, a long distance runner, and cardiac arrest survivor.
In January 2016, whilst in the last stretch of his 10 mile run he collapsed on the footpath outside of his local petrol station. A passer-by thought he’d simply tripped and went to place him in the recovery position until Kay Hargreaves stopped her car, and rushed to his aid. After realising Ryk had stopped breathing, she started CPR.
There were a number of people involved in Ryk’s rescue, including passing cyclist Ben Connor who along with two contractors from a nearby site continued with CPR.
Thankfully, a Powerheart® G3 AED was situated at the Post Office only 100 yards from where Ryk had collapsed. Skip driver Dario Claydon was familiar with using an AED so took on this part of the rescue. Ryk received one shock before his heart returned to a normal rhythm.
Once stabilised, Yorkshire Air Ambulance took Ryk to Leeds General Infirmary. During this journey, Ryk suffered another sudden cardiac arrest, luckily the paramedics managed to revive him.
In total Ryk was unconscious for 20 minutes, and at one point given only a 10% chance of survival. He underwent a triple heart bypass before returning home to his family.
“I’m extremely grateful to everyone who helped save my life and thanks to them i have gone on to raise money for much needed public accessible defibrillators’.
Following his recovery, Ryk commented “If I had collapsed a minute and a half later, I would have been at home and as my wife was at work, I wouldn’t have been found. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who helped save my life and thanks to them I have gone on to raise money for much needed public accessible defibrillators.”
Only four months after surviving his sudden cardiac arrest, Ryk ran a half-marathon carrying a Powerheart® G5 AED in a back pack to promote the need for more public access AEDs.
Since Ryk’s cardiac arrest, he’s hardly stopped, he’s completed a 62 mile race and on the first anniversary of his collapse he ran a 40 mile race in extreme heat in Cambodia. He’s also funded or help to fund four public access defibrillators.
In May 2019, Ryk completed Britain’s most brutal summer race – The Spine – 268 miles of the Pennine Way from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yeltholm in Scotland. Only 60 people have completed the Summer Spine and it is understood Ryk is the first to do it following a triple bypass.
Ryk Downes is here today thanks to the quick actions of his many rescuers and their knowledge of CPR and the importance of an AED.