EVERY time Jeremy Nelson and Rachel Miles hug their son Xavier, they feel like embracing the two men that saved their 12-year-old.
Only one in three parents know how to perform CPR but Xavier was lucky enough that two dads with that skill were on hand when he went into cardiac arrest.
Xavier was at a friend’s party on December 9 when he climbed out of their pool, lay down and stopped breathing.
The party was at Chris Kirkwood’s house, while Mark Colston was there to pick up his son Leo when they both saw Xavier.
“I rushed to his side, he was non-responsive and I couldn’t hear a heartbeat so I started mouth to mouth, Chris rang the ambulance and then started CPR,” Mr Colston, 48, said. n]b98
Mr Colston had completed two first aid courses that included CPR.
“The biggest fear for me was am I confident in that situation? I was kind of panicked but I knew what to do,” Mr Colston said.
Mr Kirkwood also knew CPR but had not practised it since his days in the Scouts.
“I’d practised on dummies but not on a little child. The adrenaline kicked in, it just had to be done. Mark did the breathing and I did the pumping,” Mr Kirkwood, 48, said.
The dads performed CPR on Xavier for 11 minutes until paramedics arrived.
When Xavier’s parents rushed to the Haberfield house it was to see dozens of emergency vehicles out the front. They weren’t even allowed around the back.
“Time stands still when something like this happens, they flew in helicopters and brought in paediatric doctors to stabilise him,” Mr Nelson said.
It took over an hour to stabilise him. CPR kept his blood moving and oxygen supplied to his brain.
“It was just awful. The first time I saw him he was intubated and being loaded into the back of the ambulance,” Ms Miles said.
Two months later, Xavier has fully recovered. Doctors still don’t know what caused his sudden cardiac arrest but he has a defibrillator implant in his chest in case it happens again.
What doctors - and his parents - know is that Xavier is only here today because of those dads.
“Absolutely, so many events that happened that day meant Xavier is alive today, if they had not known CPR, it would be a different story. It is hard to express how grateful I am for people to have these skills,” Mr Nelson said.
As a schoolteacher, Ms Miles does CPR training every year but cannot stress enough how important it is.
“They saved his life, they knew what to do and they kept their cool. They are amazing men. I want to buy them a castle,” Ms Miles said.
The Sunday Telegraph is calling on the state government to provide funding so CPR training can be incorporated into existing antenatal courses that are provided free of charge throughout public hospitals.
Antenatal classes are available to all parents-to-be but do not yet equip parents with the vital skills of CPR.