A super fit trainer forgot his entire family after suffering a cardiac arrest from overtraining.
Father-of-one Garth Suthurst’s heart stopped beating for more than 20 minutes on June 1 before doctors were able to restart it.
After being rushed to hospital, the 39-year-old fitness fanatic, who is from Manchester but lives in Marbella, defied the odds after being given just an eight per cent chance of survival.
Although his family were elated when the father-of-one opened his eyes, their joy quickly turned to heartbreak when he was unable to recognise any of them, including his eight-year-old daughter Lily.
Yet his loved ones had a glimmer of hope when Mr Suthurst started to sing The Beatles’ hit ‘Hey Jude’ and attempting to get up on his feet.
After a 35 day stint in hospital, Mr Suthurst has been allowed to return to home, with doctors saying he only survived due to him being so fit.
His family are speaking out to increase awareness that anyone, regardless of their fitness, can suffer a cardiac arrest, as well as to raise money towards his care.
Garth Suthurst (pictured before) forgot his family after a cardiac arrest from overtraining
Mr Suthurst’s heart stopped beating for more than 20 minutes on June 1 before doctors were able to restart it (pictured before with his partner Sorrel Lewis)
The father-of-one spent 35 days in hospital, where he could not remember his daughter
WHAT IS A CARDIAC ARREST?
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body, which is usually due to a problem with electrical signals in the organ.
This causes the brain to be starved of oxygen, which results in sufferers not breathing and losing consciousness.
In the UK, more than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur a year outside of hospital, compared to over 356,000 in the US.
Cardiac arrests are different to heart attacks, with the latter occurring when blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off due to a clot in one of the coronary arteries.
Common causes include heart attacks, heart disease and heart muscle inflammation.
Drug overdose and losing a large amount of blood can also be to blame.
Giving an electric shock through the chest wall via a defibrillator can start the heart again.
In the meantime, CPR can keep oxygen circulating around the body.
‘The fact he is so fit has certainly helped him’
Mr Suthurst’s partner Sorrel Lewis, 36, a fitness instructor, said: ‘It has been an extremely difficult time but the progress Garth has made has been amazing.
‘There are so many people in his situation who never survive. The fact that he is so fit and strong has certainly helped him.’
Doctors have said Mr Suthurst’s survival is down to his incredibly high fitness level, which allowed his organs to continue to function after more than 20 minutes without oxygen.
Ms Lewis added: ‘Of course it’s hard that he has had to learn almost everything from scratch, including all of our names. At the beginning he couldn’t remember anyone.
‘I was so worried he would be changed forever, whereas you can definitely still tell Garth is still there.
‘He asked after Lily, which was a magical moment, and he just wants to get out of the hospital and start working again to earn for his family.
‘I was with his sister Rachael and we were playing Garth playlists of music because we had been told it might help with his recovery.
She added: ”Hey Jude” came on and he began singing along with us and singing the chorus by himself.
‘Sometimes conversations don’t make sense and you just have to roll with them, but one day we were talking about having a party and he suddenly said our friend Charlotte should make the cake, because she bakes really well.
‘I was so excited because that was something else he had remembered unprompted.’
Super-fit Mr Suthurst was running on a treadmill with a weight belt when he collapsed
He was rushed to hospital, where doctors gave him an eight per cent chance of surviving
Loved ones had a glimmer of hope when he asked after his daughter Lily (pictured)
‘He’d turned blue and was cold to the touch’
Mr Suthurst was running on a treadmill at Mike’s Gym in Marbella, where he works, while wearing a weight belt.
One of the gym’s owners discovered Mr Suthurst lying on the ground and started performing CPR while an ambulance was called.
Ms Lewis said: ‘I got a call from Keely who runs the gym saying Garth had collapsed and I needed to come immediately.
‘I kept thinking on my drive there that she would call me back and tell me that everything was okay, but she never did.
‘When I turned up and saw Garth the paramedics were working on him. It was horrible. He’d turned blue and was cold to the touch.’
Although now home, Ms Lewis says many conversations do not make sense (pictured before)
Yet, Ms Lewis adds Mr Suthurst is still the same person and is keen to get back to work (before)
Pictured with family, he lived due to his fitness allowing his organs to function without oxygen
Paramedics struggled to perform CPR due to Mr Suthurst’s (left) large physique
Mr Suthurst (right) could not initially have a brain scan due to him being unresponsive
‘It was a blur’
Attempts to save Mr Suthurst’s life, which lasted 22 minutes before an ambulance arrived, were complicated by the weight belt he was wearing and his muscular physique.
Ms Lewis said: ‘It was a struggle for Keely to get him off the machine because he had his weight vest on, and is very big and muscular.
‘Getting to the hospital and having the doctors tell me the low chances of his recovery was incredibly hard to hear. It was like a blur and so difficult to take any of it in.
‘We couldn’t get the brain scan done initially because the doctors needed him to be co-operative for the test and without recognition or reason he wasn’t ready.’
Mr Suthurst’s sister Rachael Suthurst, 37, who lives in Manchester, said: ‘It’s very important to us that people are aware of sudden cardiac arrests and how this could happen to anyone, even people as strong and healthy as Garth.
‘Equipment like defibrillators and knowing CPR can really save someone’s life.’
She has launched a fundraising campaign to help Ms Lewis look after her brother while he recovers. Donate here.