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Super Woman Asmahan Abu Yeheya Recounts 16 years of EMS Volunteering for MDA

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Asmahan Abu-Yeheya (42) from Gan Yavne has volunteered at Magen David Adom for 16 years.

Over the years, Asmahan had six children of her own, but between one maternity leave and another, she continued to volunteer at MDA as an EMT and ambulance driver.

Asmahan is a certified preschool teacher, and at the same time also works as a medical secretary at an orthopedic clinic, and as a volunteer operations officer for the Gan Yavne Rescue Unit.

All of this, Asmahan, does as a single mother to her six children, with the youngest being 10 years old. 

“I get support from the kids,” Asmahan shared, “If I’m in a bad mood, they tell me to go to a MDA shift because they know it will do me good.’

“Doing and giving give me a lot of satisfaction, and I feel at any given moment that I am part of the warm and supportive MDA family.’

Asmahan says that she sees each patient as a person, and that she never works on “automatic: “When I treat an older woman, I treat her like she is my grandmother.

Every time I think about the person in the ambulance when he is in pain and scared, and sometimes I am the only person they have, my job is first and foremost to give him the best medical care, but I believe it is very important that I be both human and caring. “

In recent months, Asmahan has taken an active part in MDA activity at the forefront of the fight against the Corona virus.

She has undergone training to obtain samples from suspected corona patients, and has obtained samples in the homes of patients in the Gan Yavne and Ashdod area, in the “Drive and Test” complex in Ashdod and in nursing homes in the area.

“I took a lot of samples, but it was important not to be indifferent to any of the patients,” Asmahan said. “I remember going to sample a tourist who was in isolation at a hotel in Ashdod, and I was told he had a birthday.’

“I sang a happy birthday to him and he was very excited. When I arrived dressed in protective suit for homes that had children, I told them that I was not a monster, and tried to do everything I could to calm them.’

“The activity around the Corona crisis was vast and sometimes not easy, but I knew I was part of something big, and volunteer at an organization that you need adapt to the situation in the country, with the help of people like me and other volunteers. “

“I happened to arrive as a team member for a patient or injured person, and they asked me where the person in charge is,” Asmahan said, “but I’m quick to make it clear that I’m in charge.’

“I’m sure of what I’m doing, and as soon as the people around me realize I’m coming to help, the attitude always changes. They thank me and appreciate what I did.”

Ambulance Volunteer Mike Retires After 66 Years

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An award-winning South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) volunteer community responder is taking a well-earned retirement after helping people in need for almost seven decades. 

Mike Kemp, from Liskeard in Cornwall, began his volunteering as a cadet with St John Ambulance in 1954. He was a long-serving officer with the organisation before finishing in 2006. 

Mike Kemp (right) with his son, Richard (left)

Mike has been a SWASFT Community First Responder (CFR) since 2002, treating thousands of patients in and around Liskeard, Looe and Par — and saving many lives. 

His legacy will continue through his son Richard who is a SWASFT Paramedic, and the new volunteers Mike has trained. 

CFR Mike Kemp with an AED

Mike said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being a volunteer responder. No two days of responding are the same.’

“But it’s a privilege to be part of such a wonderful team, and know you are making a difference to people. 

“Once I was called onto a train to treat an unconscious diabetic patient who attacked the guard when he regained consciousness.’

Another time, when I was called to a care home, I was told that the elderly resident I was treating was just asleep and the real patient was on the other side of the room!”

One of Mike’s proudest achievements was becoming the first person to defibrillate a patient in 1988. 

Julia Cleeland-Smith, SWASFT Community Responder Officer for Cornwall, said: “I have been amazed at the dedication and commitment that Mike has given to support patients, community responders and enhanced first aid to the public.” 

Mike Kemp with Volunteer of the Year award at the Unsung Hero Awards (2018)

His volunteering with SWASFT was recognised in 2018 when he was given the Volunteer of the Year accolade at the Unsung Hero Awards. 

CFRs are trained volunteers who provide crucial treatment in the vital first few minutes of life-threatening emergencies while an ambulance is on the way. 

During Volunteers’ Week, SWAST has been celebrating the invaluable work of its 800 volunteers who respond to around 40,000 patients a year across the South West. 

Welsh Ambulance Service Celebrates Volunteers’ Week 2020

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The Welsh Ambulance Service has been celebrating the work of its volunteers as part of national Volunteers’ Week.

Volunteers’ Week (01-07 June) is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering.

More than 1,400 volunteers give up their time to support the ambulance service in Wales, including 1,200 Community First Responders and 170 Volunteer Car Drivers.

Community First Responders are trained to deliver life-saving first aid prior to the ambulance service’s arrival.

Volunteer Car Drivers use their own vehicles to transport people to routine hospital appointments, including renal dialysis, oncology and outpatients appointments.

In 2019/20, they made 134,354 journeys across Wales and covered more than four million miles – the equivalent of driving to the moon and back eight times.

Elsewhere, Community First Responders are members of the public who are trained to deliver life-saving first aid to people in their own community prior to the ambulance service’s arrival. 

As a critical part of the chain of survival, Community First Responders play an active part is saving many lives across Wales every year.  

They have the equipment and know-how to administer treatment in those precious first minutes of an emergency, including CPR and defibrillation in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Last year, Community First Responders attended 29,000 emergencies, arriving at the scene of the most serious ‘Red’ calls in an average of six minutes and 49 seconds.

Jason Killens,
Chief Executive,
Welsh Ambulance Service

Jason Killens, Chief Executive of the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “Our volunteers – be they in our car service or our Community First Responder group – give up their time to help us help our communities. 

“The time they give is substantial and makes a real difference to our patients across Wales 

“Without the support of our volunteers and their families and friends who support them to volunteer with us, we simply couldn’t operate the service that we do.

“The commitment from our volunteers through the Covid-19 pandemic has been incredible, and we would like to extend a huge thank you for their time and commitment, not just this Volunteers’ Week but year-round.”

Volunteer Car Drivers transport patients to and from routine hospital appointments using their own vehicle.

Martin Woodford, the Trust’s Chair, added: “As an ambulance service, we depend hugely on the contribution of our volunteers, come rain or shine, and never more so than during this frightening pandemic.’

“On behalf of our Board, I would like to express my enormous gratitude to all of our selfless volunteers, whether Community First Responders, Volunteer Car Drivers, or people who have simply stepped forward to help us in any way they can during these difficult times.”

“We are forever in your debt,” Martin added.

As well as Community First Responders and Volunteer Car Drivers, the Trust also relies on the support of St John Cymru Wales and uniformed first responders from the three Welsh fire and rescue services.

It is also supported by ‘BASICS’ doctors from the British Association of Immediate Care, who provide pre-hospital care at the scene of more complex emergencies.

To volunteer for the Welsh Ambulance Service, visit www.ambulance.wales.nhs.uk 
and head to the ‘Get Involved’ page. 

Visit http://volunteersweek.org for more information.