COMMUNITY HERO: Mum’s terrifying ordeal inspired her to help community

Sophie with her daughter Ari, her inspiration for the campaign, who is a picture of health today
Sophie with her daughter Ari, her inspiration for the campaign, who is a picture of health today

Sophie Mei Lan is a woman on a mission.

She hopes to inspire everyone in the region to become trained in the basics of first aid - after a first aid course she attended years ago helped saved the life of her own child.

At a recent first aid course, organised by Sophie

At a recent first aid course, organised by Sophie

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Appeal: who is YOUR community hero?
Last summer, Sophie’s three-month-old daughter suddenly stopped breathing on a family day trip to a local art gallery. Terrified new mum Sophie - in the midst of her panic - was able to recall some basic first aid training she’d previously received and leapt into action, performing mouth-to-mouth and keeping her daughter alive until the paramedics arrived.

This dusty recollection of first aid training was enough to help save her daughter’s life. After seeing the importance of this first-hand, 27-year-old Sophie has dedicated a huge amount of her personal time in the months since, to promoting the vital need for first aid training among members of the public.

WHAT IS YOUR JOB/COMMUNITY ROLE?

I’m a speaker and blogger at mamamei.co.uk, as well as a film-maker for Evoke Media Group, a BBC Raw presenter and a professional samba and bellydancer.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE?

I’m from Pitsmoor originally, though I’m currently living in Wakefield with my fiance Chris and our daughters Jasmine, aged three, and Arianna, who has just turned one.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING IN THE COMMUNITY ON THIS CAMPAIGN?

Ever since my daughter nearly died, nine months ago. I vowed when she was in intensive care that I would do all I could to promote the importance of first aid and of giving blood - it if weren’t for both of these things, Arianna would have died. I’ve blogged about my own first aid learning and have managed to provide a number of free local courses for others to learn first aid and filled these up with participants.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR INSPIRATION:

My daughter simply stopped breathing one day and started bleeding from the nose and mouth. I had been carrying her in my sling when she became grey and lifeless, so we quickly called for an ambulance and I started mouth-to-mouth. Even the most basic first aid can give somebody a much better chance of survival.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY?

I left my full-time job at BBC when my daughter was ill. So I now work freelance, making and presenting films on current affairs, as well as blogging from home daily on issues that matter most to me - such as parenting, mental health, first aid and fitness.

I love exercising every morning then I do educational activities with my daughters, as we’re trying home education. In the afternoons I write and follow up stories and do dance practice with my girls. Then when the girls are in bed, I blog about issues close to my heart.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR HIGHLIGHTS DURING THE CAMPAIGN AND WHAT HAS BEEN MOST REWARDING?

My BBC film Save My Baby, which promoted my #ThankYouNHS campaign, was viewed thousands of times and won a national journalism award. But most importantly, so many parents and health professionals were touched by the campaign and I’ve been inundated with so many stories of how first aid training and giving blood has saved lives.

I really hope my story has inspired people to pursue first aid training; that’s what it’s all about for me and, if it works, it goes some way to helping make our horrendous experience worthwhile.

So many people reached out to me when I made the Save My Baby film, about what happened to my daughter and to thank the NHS, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and the children’s hospital charity for helping to save her and being so amazing with my family. Knowing that I’m helping a bigger cause keeps us positive.

WHAT ELSE DO YOU HOPE THIS CAMPAIGN ACHIEVES?

I’d love to see first-aid education available in all places of work and schools, as well as part of free antenatal courses. I’m hoping to grow my blog mamamei.co.uk to help promote important issues, as well as making more films with a social impact via Evoke Media Group.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING GETTING INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY WORK?

We’re all busy these days, but everyone can find time in their day to do something positive for their community. It can be as simple as sharing campaigns online or speaking out on issues close to them. We can all make a difference.