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Family plunges into action

October 5, 2023 | in News, Shocktober 2023

An evening swim nearly ended in tragedy for an Anglesea father after he suffered a cardiac arrest in March.

Fifty-two-year-old Chris Liontos jumped into the pool with his 10-year-old son Luca when his heart suddenly stopped.

Back: Paul, Trevor, Matthew, Jack
Front: Brother, Connie, Lucas, Chris, Dad

Luca raised the alarm and called Triple Zero (000) as Chris’ wife dragged her husband to the side of the pool.

Minutes later, a GoodSAM Responder arrived who was able to pull Chris from the water and start CPR.

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

CPR and defibrillation are essential in cardiac arrest as every minute that CPR is delayed, survival decreases by 10 per cent.

Anglesea Team Manager Matthew Van der Ploeg said the actions of the GoodSAM Responder were crucial in Chris’ survival.

“Anyone can save a life, you just have to be willing to start CPR if someone nearby needs help,” Mr Van der Ploeg said.

Chris was taken to University Hospital Geelong and has since made a full recovery.

Back: Paul, Jack, Carol, Trevor, Brother, Matthew, Dad, John
Front: Mike, Connie, Chris, Lucas, Heather

He recently reunited with the GoodSAM Responders and paramedics who came to his aid as part of Ambulance Victoria’s Shocktober campaign.

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

“I know I’m very lucky to be here and I’m trying to live in the moment,” Chris said.

“I’ve decided to do a CPR course and sign up as a GoodSAM myself.”

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