COVID-19: How my near-death experience compelled me to help with vaccinations

Heather Munroe, from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, is a volunteer in the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Here, she tells Sky News’ north of England correspondent Katerina Vittozzi how a near-death experience in 2019 compelled her to give up her time, to help.

I’ve never volunteered for anything like this before, ever.

I’m not from a medical background at all – my background is in accountancy – but I when I found out what they were doing, and the fact that they wanted to get it done so fast, I just offered my services.

I was really actually honoured to be accepted.

I had a major car crash 18 months ago that by all accounts wasn’t survivable on the day. It was a head-on collision and my car flipped and crushed me inside.

It took hours for a team to cut me out of my car. They called my husband and told him to go to hospital but that he should expect the worse.

I was flown by air-ambulance to the hospital and had so many surgeries. At one point there was four teams working on me.

There was a few dodgy moments but I did survive and I’m so grateful to the NHS and everybody, and the joined up power-base looking after me behind the scenes.

It’s been quite a journey. My feet were very crushed and I’ve had to learn to walk again.

But for me, to be able to give something back to the NHS is just phenomenal, I really feel it is something I need to do.

As a volunteer I’m a data-inputter, so it frees up the clinical people to do more injections faster. More people can go through if there are more people helping so it is lovely.

Every day I wake up now and feel energised to come and help. It’s an honour to be able to do it.

And to see a person come in, some can be really anxious, some people that sit down have not been out for a year, except for doing their shopping. They want to chat to you, and it feels like you are giving them a key to get back out again.

It’s phenomenal, the feeling – sometimes you get a bit choked up.

So, I feel like this is momentous and my part is so, so tiny. But to be part of it and feel the atmosphere and to feel the liberation of these people when they leave… when they say thank you, they really mean, thank you.

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