Congratulations to Sophie Wills, one of our graduate paramedic interns at Dubbo Station in the Western Sector, for her selection as Employee of the Month.
The 22 year old founded the Community Defib Project, a registered not-for-profit organisation which is installing community accessible automated external defibrillators (AED) into vulnerable communities.
The project is a collaboration between Western Sydney University, the Defib shop and community members. With no ongoing Government funding or support, it relies on donations, sponsorship and profit from merchandise sales.
Sophie chairs a Board of Directors, made up of medical experts and passionate community volunteers to drive the fundraising for each AED unit.
The group has already raised $60,000 and installed 28 devices across nine communities including Wiseman’s Ferry, St Albans, Catherine Hill Bay, Maroota, Spencer, East Kurrajong, Upper Colo Valley, Colo Valley Heights and Sackville-Ebenezer.
Sophie said she was humbled by the nomination but was very happy word was spreading about the program and its success.
“I had no idea I was nominated, no idea at all,” Sophie said.
“I’ve been supported with this project in my discussions with Dominic Morgan and Alan Morrison who have been very helpful,” she said. “Now that our organisation is progressing and getting bigger, the word is out.”
Sophie said the idea for more community defibrillators came to her after a family friend had a cardiac arrest and help was 75kms away from where they were. With time being critical during a sudden cardiac arrest, the project’s aim is to have every person within 10 minutes of defibrillation.
“Every minute that goes by without defibrillation means survival is reduced by 7-10%,” Sophie said.
“I was in my second year of studies when I started thinking what it would take to provide the equivalent of what paramedics provide if we were in those communities.”
Now the momentum is picking up for the program, Sophie is hoping to be in touch with all communities across the state and is keen to start fundraising and gather volunteers for the work.
“We have a big challenge ahead to find funding to complete the project across NSW,” she said.
“Ultimately, providing a community with the tools to save a life during a sudden cardiac arrest is what is most important.”