A woman who was in a coma this January after collapsing in a Rugby gym has just completed her first of three marathons this year as part of a fundraiser for Action for Children.
In January of this year Elaine Beauchamp, 53 was in an induced coma in hospital having suffered a cardiac arrest at the gym - today she finished her first of three marathons this year, completing the iconic London marathon in six hours and 35 seconds.
Ten years ago Elaine was smoking 30 cigarettes a day and was overweight at more than 16 stone – an unguarded picture shocked her into losing over 5 stone in weight and she embarked on a healthy diet and eating programme that changed her life.
From doing barely any exercise she became an extreme marathon runner (last year she ran five marathons in five weeks) and was a gym regular.
This January a gym visit nearly ended in tragedy when she suffered a cardiac arrest on the rowing machine and owes her life to the fact that her gym had a defibrillator available.
Without that intervention Elaine would have died.
Elaine was placed into an induced coma to stabilise her.
She has little memory of her time in hospital but once she realised what had happened she was determined to be back to full fitness in time for the marathon.
Elaine said: "Today was tough but I’m so proud to have raised nearly £1,500 for Action for Children. It’s an amazing charity that I got to know when I volunteered at some of their services when the company I work for, Gap, became a corporate partner of the charity.
"Gap are match-funding everything I raise so hopefully my final fundraising total will be a lot more."
Jen Johnston, 30 is the operations manager at the gym - Nuffield Health Rugby – and was one of the members of staff who used the defibrillator to shock Elaine’s heart back in to life.
She said: "I’m so proud of Elaine for what she’s achieved today.
"I was the Duty Manager on the day in January when she suffered the cardiac arrest and it’s incredible to think she’s raced at what was the hottest London marathon ever just a few months later.
"I’ll never forget that Friday when Elaine collapsed in the gym and we quickly realised that something was seriously wrong. I didn’t have time to be nervous - even though it was the first time we’d ever had to use the defibrillator – as all the staff are trained to use it.
"Although I do remember the eight minutes or so that it took for the ambulance to arrive feeling like a lifetime!"
There’s still time to donate to Elaine’s fundraising efforts. Visit her donation page uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ElaineBeauchamp
To learn more about the work of Action for Children, which provides help for neglected and vulnerable children, visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk