Mum of tragic teenager keeps pushing water safety campaign from her hospital bed after heart attack at 40

"This isn't going to stop me, not at all. I've got more work to do and lives to save".

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:52 pm

The mum of Dylan Ramsay, who drowned in a quarry lake, has carried on campaigning for water safety from her hospital bed after suffering a heart attack aged 40.

Rebecca, from Chorley was convinced she was suffering from a chest infection, and only went to see the emergency doctor at Chorley Hospital on Sunday because she was passing on the way to Asda.

She said: "I only came to the hospital on the off-chance, because I was passing. The scary thing is that I could have easily ignored it, but something made me come.

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Campaigner Rebecca Ramsay

"I think in my head, was Dylan helping me out?"

>>>Read more about Dylan's story here.

The mum-of-four added: "I'd parked on the dentist car park expecting to be in for half an hour and come home with some antibiotics, but ended up being kept in and hooked up to all these machines. I had to ring the dentists in the morning to ask them not to clamp me. I said I came in thinking I had a chest infection and ended up having a heart attack."

She said she "can hardly believe I've had a heart attack", with her only symptoms tightening of the chest and a spot of chest pain that increased in size from Saturday night to Sunday morning, from the size of two fingers to the size of a palm.

Dylan, who died aged 13 in 2011

Initial tests show that there is damage to the left-hand bottom chamber of her heart, and she will undergo an angiogram at Blackpool Victoria Hospital to determine the best course of treatment.

She said: "The heart on the whole is functioning okay, but there is some damage. At this stage the doctors aren't sure if the damage has caused the heart attack or the heart attack has caused the damage."

She said it is "awful" being in hospital during Covid times, and has had to take three tests in four days. She also slept wearing a masks for the first two nights, so frightened was she of picking up a Covid infection.

She said: "On the wards it's very quiet, there's nobody around and no visitors. I find myself mucking in to keep other people on the ward going. I'm just can't help it, I'm a carer."

With nothing to do, Rebecca has been plugging her petition for water safety from her bed, even though her family have asked her to "cool down".

She said: "Everybody thinks it's been caused stress, but I have other stresses too, not just water safety.

"This isn't going to stop me, not at all. I've got more work to do and lives to save. But I will be making lifestyle changes - I'll try to do a bit more exercise and cut down on smoking."

Such is her work, that Rebecca was awarded the BEM (Order of the British Empire Medal) in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to the Prevention of Water Related Accidents.

In 2019, Dylan's sister Annie was made a water safety ambassador. Click here for more information.

More than 5,200 people have signed Rebecca's latest petition to the UK Parliament, calling for increased water safety education on the national curriculum.

She said: "We don't really teach water safety on the curriculum. Yes the children go into the waters wearing their pjyamas and they're asked to swim down and pick up a brick, but it's not realistic.

"In real life, that water isn't going to be warm, clean and clear, it's going to be cold and nasty."

The petition calls on education about two main areas - rip currents and cold water shock.

Rebecca said: "Cold water shock is the biggest killer in open water, but rip currents are important too. The first time many people introduce their children to water is usually at the beach. You can follow all of the safety advice, but if a rip current takes you out to sea, you can panic and drown in 60 seconds. But if you know what to do and get on your back, then you stand a good chance of surviving."

Rebecca is also concerned about the impact lockdowns have had on water safety.

Swimming pools have been closed and swimming lessons cancelled, and more people have been out exercising in their local areas, coming across open bodies of water they never knew about before.

Rebecca said: "Some schools only offer swimming lessons in year six. Well, if that year fell when we've had all these restrictions and pools haven't been open, then that chance is lost. There will be a whole generation of children who haven't had that the lessons.

"It's so important because it's the only thing you learn at school that is actually a life-saving skill."

She recommends that people download the app What3Words, which tells the emergency services exactly where you are, if you are in difficulty and need help.