Man’s life saved after ‘wife heard phone drop to the floor’ as he collapsed while on the loo

By Staff 7 Min Read

Dad Chris Rowell had a cardiac arrest while checking his phone as he sat on the toilet at home in Stalybridge in Tameside in January 2021. He has just completed the London Marathon

A man whose heart stopped when he was on the toilet, was saved thanks to his now wife hearing his phone hit the floor after it fell from his hand.

Dad Chris Rowell had a cardiac arrest while checking his phone as he sat on the toilet at home in Stalybridge in Tameside in January 2021. As he collapsed, he dropped his phone which alerted his partner Becka. She went upstairs to see what had happened and quickly realised he needed help, phoning 999 and calling their neighbour, a nurse, for help. Both gave Chris CPR before he was rushed to hospital where he was in a coma for three days.

Now 52-year-old has just completed the TCS 2024 London Marathon to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation. He finished the gruelling 26.2-mile course in 4hours 53mins and 56 seconds and raised an incredible £2,500 for the charity. Describing what happened in 2021, Chris told the Manchester Evening News: “I was on the toilet on my phone when I had a serious heart attack. I don’t remember what happened next but my girlfriend at the time, Becka, heard my phone drop on the floor and came upstairs to see what had happened.

“Becka called 999 and pulled me off the toilet to start CPR as my heart had stopped. She also called our neighbour who is a nurse to come over and help with CPR. They did CPR on me for 20 minutes before I was taken to hospital. I had a balloon angioplasty and was in a coma for three days.”

Three months after his cardiac arrest, Chris did a treadmill test and was given the all clear to start running. He’d previously run the London Marathon in 2011 and Manchester Marathon in 2012. He said: “I was nervous about raising my heart rate after everything that had happened. I did my first 10K on 1 January 2024 and took it from there. Becka was very nervous about me doing the marathon. She went through the trauma of finding me.”

Six months after Chris collapsed, he proposed to Becka and they married last June. They’ve also since had a baby boy, Hugo, who is now 20 months old. Last weekend, he was cheered along the course by Becka, Hugo and his sons Sam, 18, and Lewis, 22. After finishing the marathon, he said: “Taking part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon for the British Heart Foundation (BHF), was such a huge challenge and an incredible experience. The atmosphere around the course was electric and it was amazing having so many people cheering me on, it made me even more determined to cross the finish line.

“The research that the BHF does makes such a difference to the 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory diseases. I’m proud that I’m doing as much as I can to support their amazing work to help fund the next big scientific breakthrough. More than £1.4 million was raised for the BHF at the London Marathon.

Andy Tribe, events manager at the BHF, said: “It’s fantastic to see Chris’s courage and determination in helping us fund lifesaving research. Without the dedication of our team of BHF runners and the commitment of people like Chris, we wouldn’t be able to fund research that has already broken new ground, revolutionised treatments and transformed the lives of millions of people in the UK. The stories of why our amazing supporters take part never fails to amaze me and it was incredible to see Chris and 800 others take on such a gruelling challenge to help save and improve lives.”

You can donate to Chris’ fundraiser by clicking here.

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