When Will Purcell went for his daily paddle board at Ocean Grove on 13 December little did he realise that soon after a small army of bystanders would be responsible for saving his life.
As Will walked up the beach he collapsed at the feet of Madge Anderton, who had just finished a 10-kilometre run. Madge rang Triple Zero (000) and alerted tradies Sean Beams, Dave Gannon, Alistair Gordon and Harry Taylor who were working nearby.
Back row: David Pavia, Duncan Erwin, Sean Beams, Ralf Harries, Shannon Cefai
Front row: Madge Anderton, Will Purcell, Dave Gannon
Dave began CPR and the group was spotted by retired MICA paramedic Ralf Harries who was walking by and also ran to help.
Ocean Grove Surf Lifesaving Club former President David Pavia noticed the commotion and grabbed an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which he knew was located in the club.
Will, a father of three adult children, said he had been fit and healthy prior to his collapse.
“I wasn’t feeling unwell at all,” he said. “Fortunately I don’t remember a thing, but I know how lucky I was.
“My wife was in Bali at the time and I know if it wasn’t for the intervention of all those who came to my aid the outcome for my family may have been very different,” he said.
Ambulance Victoria Barwon South West Regional Director Duncan Erwin said quick thinking, effective CPR and using the AED all contributed to saving Will’s life.
“What a wonderful Christmas present given to Will and his family by the selfless actions of these bystanders,” Duncan said.
“We really commend all those involved for quickly recognising that CPR needed to be done and starting effective chest compressions.”
Will spent time in The University Hospital in Geelong and had a defibrillator fitted. He is slowly returning to exercise.
“I am now keen to do all I can to raise funds to increase the number of readily accessible AEDs in Ocean Grove and I encourage everyone in the local community to download GoodSAM, an amazing app which connects people in cardiac arrest with people nearby who are willing to step in and help,” Will said.