Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

A runner’s first aid story: ‘I’m proud of what we did that day’

By

A man runs up a hill in a rural locationThe summer of sport continues to thrill with the Rio 2016 Olympics in full swing. It’s enough to inspire even the idlest among us to reach for our trainers and get moving. Here one runner shares his incredible story: 109 marathons, inspiring other runners – and what a difference some first aid skills can make.

Since losing 14 stone, Aaron Howlett has run over 100 marathons. Now he helps others train for their first marathon.

But while out running one day, he faced a different sort of challenge after coming across a woman having a seizure.

Thankfully he knew exactly what to do. Would you?

More

The woman who saved a baby in the supermarket queue

By

Picture of Julie Durrant who saved a baby choking in a supermarket“I’m not usually the sort of person to push myself forward in a crisis – I’m the sort who would stand back and wait for somebody else to act,” Julie Durrant admits.

But on the day she saw a baby choke in a supermarket, nobody came to help. So Julie stepped in.

Remembering a British Red Cross post she had recently seen on Facebook, Julie was able to save the baby.

More

Doing it for mum: Red Cross trainer teaches 6,100 people first aid

By

Red Cross trainer Tracey Waddoups demonstrating an AED on a resusci dummy

Big life events can trigger us to re-evaluate what is important in life. Tracey Waddoups from Derbyshire decided it was time for a change after losing her mum Jean to a heart attack at just 61 years old.

“After losing my mum, I decided that I wanted to do something that I am very passionate about,” Tracey explained.

And it turned out that was first aid. Tracey had always enjoyed learning first aid – but mainly as just a hobby.

Now she was ready to make a career out of it, quitting her comfortable job at an IT engineering company for life as a British Red Cross first aid trainer instead.

But she wasn’t just switching careers. Tracey also set herself a monumental challenge in memory of her late mum – to train 6,100 people in first aid.

And just last week she hit her target.

More

Wheels of recovery: how a wheelchair helped mend a broken ice-skater

By

Julie with her broken leg in a cast

When Julie Maxwell left hospital after weeks of being treated for a badly broken leg, she was keen to get home. But she dreaded being confined to the sofa.

The primary school secretary from Donaghadee in Northern Ireland had been on a trip to the Big Apple with her friend Zara-lee.

But her decision to skate around the famous ice rink at New York’s Rockefeller Centre just one last time had shattered Julie’s holiday – and leg – to pieces.

Fortunately going home was not as bad as Julie had imagined – all because of a little help from a wheelchair.

More

Dad saves son choking on 20p coin

By

Ugo with his son Reuben. He used first aid when his son was choking on a 20p coin.Many of us will give our dads little tokens of appreciation to mark Father’s Day. But some of us may have more reason than others to express our thanks – like little Reuben.

After coming home from a family day out, dad Ugo had laid Reuben down to change his nappy – something he’d done hundreds of times before.

But unbeknown to Ugo, Reuben was holding on to a 20 pence coin his uncle had given to him as pocket money earlier on that day.

When Ugo turned his back, Reuben put the coin in his mouth – and started to choke.

More

Home from hospital: time for change

By
Raymond Attrell with Anna Holecz

Raymond Attrell with British Red Cross support worker Anna Holecz.

The day you get the OK to return home after being in hospital, should be a really good day. So why are some people afraid to go home?

You’ve recovered. You should be feeling better, positive and confident that you can cope with life at home – with whatever support you have arranged.

But a report has revealed that’s not always the case. Vulnerable patients, often frail or elderly, are being sent home from hospital too early – afraid and with little support.

More

Why you have to call 999 the moment you suspect a stroke

By

If you suspect stroke, call 999

We live in an era that values speed. These days you can have almost super-fast anything – from broadband to noodle soup.

It’s important to be speedy within the world of first aid too – especially when it comes to treating someone for stroke.

One stroke happens every three minutes and 27 seconds in the UK*. That’s about the same time it takes to microwave popcorn.

The good news is we can all very easily help someone having a stroke.

You just need to be able to spot it and call 999. Fast.

More

Five ways runners could save the day with first aid

By

Runners in a marathon

Whether you’re training for a marathon, a 10k or just enjoy the odd jog, as a regular runner you’re in a unique position to help others. But you might not be aware of it.

Being out and about early in the morning or in remote areas means you could be the first person to bump into someone in a first aid crisis. Would you be able to help?

More