By Bev Jordan
Greg Page’s passionate campaign
It’s just over a year since founding Yellow Wiggle Greg Page nearly died after a cardiac arrest at Castle Hill RSL during a Bushfire benefit concert.
The reunion concert with the original Wiggles had just finished when he collapsed, a crew member and the band’s drummer rushed to his aid along with an off-duty doctor. They started to administer lifesaving CPR and a nurse in the audience used the club’s defibrillator (AED).
Page says he was lucky that people nearby knew CPR and that the club had an AED which someone could grab quickly.
“If it wasn’t for the quick-thinking CPR actions of those around me, and the publicly available defibrillator at Castle Hill RSL … there is no doubt that I wouldn’t be here today.“
Every year there are approximately 30,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest within Australia. The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is only 10%. Bystander CPR and early use of a defibrillator increases the chance of survival by around 70%.
Page’s idea for the Heart of the Nation charity came within a week of his heart attack. Heart of the Nation aims to get as many AEDs into the community as possible, as well as acknowledge those businesses, community groups and organisations that have them on site.
Part of that is getting easily identifiable signing.
“We need to properly identify where these AEDs are so that if someone goes into cardiac arrest in the street people will see that there is an AED nearby and use it,” said Page.
“It really is time critical, you have to use the AED quickly.
“Ultimately, we’d like to see AED’s available within 3 minutes of where anyone happens to be, which is why we’re set on educating organisations and individuals on the importance of having AEDs on site and accessible when they’re needed.
“Our easily recognisable Heart of the Nation brand acts as a symbol of participation for Heart of the Nation Members who have an AED available for people to access and use.
“Just as we see fire extinguishers in all kinds of locations, we need to start seeing more AEDs, because that’s the best way to help reduce the number of lives lost each year.
CHRG (Castle Hill RSL Group) was the first to sign up and to put up the Heart of the Nation sign at its entrance and now there are 64 other businesses and organisations registered and hundreds of premises.
Any business or community organisation with an AED can register for free and will be sent the signage.
Heart of the Nation is working with partner organisations and businesses, like CHRG to gift AEDs where a need exists in the community.
In 2020, CHRG gifted nine AEDs to be deployed in first responder vehicles, Castle Hill Bowling Club and Walgett RSL – a rural country club that CHRG supports through its adopted club initiative.
David O’Neil, Group CEO of CHRG said: “The Wiggles have a long association with CHRG and we are so pleased that a decision we made 16 years ago to install AED’s has had such a life-changing impact on one of the original Wiggles.
“We look forward to working with Greg Page and Heart of the Nation to urge others to install AEDs in order to save more lives. Popular community meeting places, such as clubs like ours, have a responsibility to protect the people who enjoy spending time in that place.”
To find out more, or become a Heart of the Nation member, visit www.heartofthenation.com.au