Lake Joondalup Baptist student’s quick-thinking helped save mother


Cara Withnell with St John |Ambulance area manager Blaise Rego.           d455213
Cara Withnell with St John |Ambulance area manager Blaise Rego.         d455213

A WEEKDAY morning could have taken a more tragic turn if not for the “courageous” efforts of Duncraig 12-year-old Cara Withnell.

St John Ambulance area manager Blaise Rego recently presented the Lake Joondalup Baptist College student with a certificate recognising her quick-thinking and ability to perform first aid after she found her mother Renee collapsed on the bathroom floor on March 31.

Cara said she thought her mother had fallen and Mrs Withnell assured Cara she was all right and was getting up.

“But then I was putting some laundry away and came back and saw she was falling asleep,” she said.

“It wasn’t too scary at first because I just thought she might have slipped, but as I got closer I realised something wasn’t right.”

Cara sprung into action, recalling the first-aid training she had received at Davallia Primary School the previous year.

“I put towels over her and did first aid,” she said.

“I elevated her head and kept trying to ask questions.”

She called 000 and the operator suggested she find an adult.

As her father had left for work, she fetched her neighbour who agreed they needed an ambulance.

Mrs Withnell was taken to hospital where she was later found to have had a stroke.

Doctors praised Cara’s actions, which they said helped avoid greater and more lasting damage.

“It makes me feel relieved – if I had have gone to school (without helping her), she could have been much worse,” she said.

Father Phil Withnell said he was immensely proud of his daughter.

“She’s a little champion, the consequences of her not acting could have been catastrophic,” he said.

“It’s very fortunate that she was there, otherwise it would have been 12 hours before anyone found her.

“They say you never know when you’re going to need it (first-aid training) and this is a good example of that.”

Mr Withnell said his wife was now at home and specialists expected her to make a good recovery.

Cara said she and her friends were grateful to have received training.

“We discussed how lucky it was we learnt first aid,” she said.

“In general, first aid is very important because it saves lives.”