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Belinda’s Second Chance

September 25, 2023 | in News, Shocktober 2023

Mum of two Belinda Jones has spent much of her life at the Ringwood Athletic Club, competing and volunteering, but she never imagined it would be where her life would nearly end.

The 43-year-old was volunteering in March when she suffered a cardiac arrest.

Swimming coach Nick Veliades was running at the club when he heard cries for help.

“I knew something was going on and as soon as I got there and saw Belinda unconscious, I didn’t think, I just jumped in and started CPR,” Mr Veliades said.

“As a volunteer lifesaver, I’ve done CPR training every second year, so I knew what to do and how important it is.”

Belinda and Nick. The swimming coach was having a run at the club
when he heard Belinda’s cry for help.

Nick performed CPR for almost 10 minutes until paramedics arrived and took over treatment, with Belinda receiving two shocks before being transported to Box Hill hospital.

Belinda was recently able to reunite with Nick and the paramedics ahead of Ambulance Victoria’s Shocktober campaign, which aims to improve cardiac arrest survival rates across the state.   

Every day, around 20 Victorians suffer a cardiac arrest and only 1 in 10 survive.

Last year more Victorians suffered a cardiac arrest than ever before, with paramedics treating 7,361 patients.

Now in its fourth year, Shocktober calls on community members to learn CPR, register as GoodSAM Responders and to know where their closest Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is located. 

GoodSAM is a life-saving smartphone app that connects Victorians in cardiac arrest with members of the community who are willing to start CPR in the critical minutes before paramedics arrive.

Belinda said she was forever indebted to Nick and the first responders.

Belinda (centre) is grateful to Nick and the first responders who gave her
a second chance at life.

“The day of my cardiac arrest I had been out walking the dog and driving by myself, so if it had happened then, it would have been a very different outcome,” she said.

“I’m just so grateful to everyone for what they did.”

MICA paramedic Geoff Waite said Nick’s actions had made all the difference for Belinda.

“We know that for every minute CPR is delayed, survival decreases by 10 per cent,’ he said.

“Nick did an amazing job keeping Belinda alive and we want everyone to know that they too can save a life, simply by knowing CPR and being willing to give it a go if needed.”

Shocktober is a month-long campaign to highlight the importance of learning CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).