Two former Richmond Rugby players, Rupert Allhusen and Ben Leigh, are attempting the iconic 20 Bridges swim, a 28.5 mile swim around Manhattan Island in New York on 3rd September 2023, for two charities close to their hearts, The Richmond Heavies Foundation Defibrillator Fund and Diabetes UK. The Atlas Foundation is the charity partner of The Richmond Heavies Foundation.
Rupert: Of the 80,000+ out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually in the UK, the survival rate if untreated is about 3%. Survival to hospital can, in theory, be raised to 70% through rapid action, good CPR and the use of a defibrillator. Ben: Diabetes is the UK's biggest and growing health crisis. When my son Max was diagnosed, aged 12, he was shocked and asked innocently "So, I can't get rid of it". From that day, part of Max's childhood was gone and daily life changed forever.
Rupert: Rugby clubs are often the heartbeat of a community and, at Richmond, we have directly benefited from the availability of a working defibrillator. Through The Foundation, we have helped 60 other rugby clubs gain a working defibrillator and make their communities safer. Ben: Doctors are therefore working hard to find a cure for the 400,000 people in the UK who have type-1 diabetes, including 29,000 children like Max. Diabetes UK raises funds to support these incredible doctors.
Rupert: Several of our defibrillators have already saved lives. We would like to ensure every rugby club has a working defibrillator and people trained in CPR/ AEDs. This will save more lives. Ben: More research and resources spent on helping diabetics manage their condition and ultimately curing will have a massive impact both on quality of people's lives and life expectancy.