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.
No-one recognised Jean’s symptoms as a heart-attack. So Tracey’s challenge has focused on helping more people to learn about both symptoms and basic treatments in order to save more lives.
“I like to take away the fear of people not knowing what to do,” Tracey said.
Since joining in 2008, Tracey has now equipped some 6,100 people across the South Yorkshire region with the confidence and ability to carry out first aid.
And she still enjoys her job as much as she did from the start.
“The most rewarding part of my job is teaching those who are the most reluctant to learn first aid – and then seeing them leave with the confidence and skills to help save lives.
“I know I’ve done my job well when people say that they have really enjoyed the course and feel they have the confidence to use the skills they have learnt on friends and colleagues if the need arose.”
Three Peaks first aid style
But Tracey’s challenge isn’t over quite yet. She is also planning to take on the Three Peaks Challenge in 2018 – with a twist.
Tracey will carry a resusci Anne (first aid dummy) in her backpack and complete a first aid demonstration at the top of each peak.
She hopes to raise money for the Red Cross as well as more awareness around first aid.
So what would Tracey’s mum make of all this?
“I think my mum would be proud. She believed in looking after others as you never know when you will need other people to look after you.”