Tuesday 4 April, 2023: A father of two marked the end of his four half marathon fundraiser for charity this weekend crossing the finish line of the Reading Half Marathon - where his life was saved four years ago by St John Ambulance volunteers.
On Sunday Jonathan Oakeley, 39, dressed as an ambulance, completed his eight-month fundraiser challenge for St John Ambulance – where he raised over £4,300
Jonathan’s motivation to fundraise for the charity began four years ago, after a life changing incident when his heart stopped beating near the finish line of the Reading Half Marathon. Thanks to the quick actions of St John volunteers who were on duty that day, he made a full recovery and since has gone on to become a father – twice.
Desperate to show his appreciation, and once recovered, Jonathan decided to run four half marathons over eight months, finishing in the half marathon his cardiac arrest incident happened.
He said: “I really wanted to be able to give back to a charity who have given so much to me.
“Being able to retrace my steps and run the same race as before was an unforgettable experience – and something I’m utterly grateful to have been able to do; my sincerest thanks to the St John volunteers who were there for me that day.”
The money Jonathan has raised will be used to train more volunteers and ensure they have vital equipment needed to save more lives.
As well as fundraising, Jonathan also wanted to use his life changing experience to promote the importance of learning first aid.
Jonathan said: “My story and recovery is a great example of how valuable these skills are. I'd really encourage everyone to do it. If not for your sake, then for that of your loved ones. If you've not done it for a while, then refresh yourself and book a first aid course.
Charlotte Guiver, Director of Fundraising said: “We’re incredibly proud of Jonathan and the huge efforts he has made to fundraise for St John. I know his story has inspired so many not just to learn lifesaving skills, but also raise awareness of the huge and life changing impact our volunteers make in communities across the country every day.
“Everything Jonathan has raised will go straight back to our frontline helping fund volunteer training and make sure they’re equipped with the latest devices – so they can continue to be there in the moments that matter and save more lives.”
Jonathan, his family and the volunteers who saved his life were the face of St John Ambulance’s latest ‘Ask Me’ campaign, designed to make the public stop and think about the role St John plays in people's everyday lives.
To find out more about St John Ambulance’s lifesaving work, how to donate or get involved, visit: sja.org.uk