Ironman great Guy Leech will never forget the moment his best mate died in his arms from a sudden cardiac arrest.
Since that day he has been determined to give Australians greater access to defibrillators to ensure no one else has to endure the same fate like his friend.
Port Stephens business owners and residents heard from Leech last week about his mission to get as many defibrillators out in the community in the hands of as many people possible who know how to use them.
"I ended up jumping in and doing resuscitation on him, which I had done a few times back in my patrol days at Manly Surf Club, with success both times," he said.
"I literally thought when I started pumping his chest that I'd get him back."
Leech was later told at the hospital that his mate had a six to eight per cent chance of surviving from resuscitation.
"They told me if I had a defibrillator handy, he would have been up to 70 per cent chance of surviving, which really hit home," he said.
Leech, who founded his national defibrillator (defib) company Heart180 in 2016, said he didn't just want to hand out defibrillators to people, but he wanted to make sure people were educated on how to use them effectively.
"We need to empower people and educate them on what to do in a life or death situation," he said.
His visit to Nelson Bay Golf Club last week was a special one. Leech discussed his new app and program, Defib Hero, which could be the difference between life and death.
"You can register your defib on the app, you can locate where defibs are available in your local area, and you can also access free training on the app," he said.
"Using the app, you can learn how to do CPR and how to use a defib in 20 minutes."
Leech is now wanting to launch the program in Port Stephens, with an aim to educate and save lives, including getting local high schools to complete the training.
"For the program to proceed, we're needing council's support," he said.
"We need the Port Stephens Council to go and find grants to be able to put more defibs outdoors for people to use 24/7."
By the end of 2024, Leech's goal is to have at least two areas in each state running the defib hero program.
In other news:
Fingal Bay resident Christopher O'Connor said it was a pleasure to have Guy Leech visit Port Stephens to talk about the issue and community awareness of defibrillators.
"The numbers are absolutely scary, not just with the older folk in the community but the younger generation also," he said.
Mr O'Connor said the community absolutely needs to get government and the Port Stephens Council behind the Defib Hero program.
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