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Survivors Thank Heroes at Heart of Gold Awards

“Without them I’d be dead…”

 Saved by total strangers, heart attack survivor John Ross wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for their quick thinking and quality CPR. The father of three is lucky to be alive after his heart stopped beating while he was driving home from the beach. He collapsed at the wheel and blacked out, mounting his car on the curb.

A bystander called Triple Zero, as a former paramedic immediately commenced effective cardio pulmonary resuscitation. Mr Ross was clinically dead when the Ambulance arrived. But together with paramedics, this group of unsuspecting heroes brought him back to life.

Recognised for showing absolute courage when every second counted, these humble heroes are among 29 inspiring Australians who will be honoured with Victor Chang Heart of Gold Awards in Sydney today. And for the first time, three children will also be honoured for displaying valour well beyond their years.

Each recipient of the Victor Chang Heart of Gold medal has been handpicked for their strength and composure in the face of crisis, pain or grief – in an effort to prevent death or irreversible damage to the heart.

With his family by his side, Mr Ross expressed his enormous gratitude to the total strangers and the paramedics who went above and beyond to save his life.

“The day I died, my partner and the mother of my children almost became a widow at 45. She didn’t, thanks to people who cared. I can’t thank them enough,” Mr Ross revealed.

It’s also a very special day for Rodney Bartlett who went into cardiac arrest in a bank. A witness jumped into action and commenced CPR, before a doctor and NSW Ambulance arrived. Advanced Life Support Paramedic and Heart of Gold recipient, Mark Jacobson was on scene and is full of praise for the other bystanders.

“The only reason this patient survived is because of some unbelievable CPR by witnesses. I’ve been an intensive care paramedic for more than 30 years and the cardiac patients are always the hardest to save. Good CPR is the difference between life and death. This was absolutely incredible chest compressions in this case,” Mr Jacobson explained.

Executive Director, Professor Bob Graham said the Victor Chang Heart of Gold Awards are an opportunity to honour the vital role the community plays in saving a precious life, while also raising awareness of heart disease – the most deadly disease in the world.

“Death can occur within minutes of a heart attack or cardiac arrest and without immediate first aid the chance of survival diminishes every second that CPR is delayed.”

“If it wasn’t for these brave men and women I fear what could have happened to the patients. A staggering 90 percent of victims will not survive if they suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital. This urgently needs to change,” Prof Graham added.

These stories of survival are powerful reminders that heart disease can affect anyone at any age, no matter how fit and healthy they may seem.

For more information about the awards click here.

To nominate someone for a Victor Chang Heart of Gold Award, please email full details to

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