Kardinya man heaps praise on women who helped save life after his heart stopped during fitness class


Kardinya local Greg Kay says he would have died if not for the quick actions of Ruena Girelli (Hamilton Hill) Alicia Antonovsky (Fremantle).
Kardinya local Greg Kay says he would have died if not for the quick actions of Ruena Girelli (Hamilton Hill) Alicia Antonovsky (Fremantle).

A KARDINYA man has heaped praise on the women who administered first aid after his heart stopped during a fitness class last month, saying a “thank you” did not feel like it was enough.

Greg Kay was winding down from an afternoon Fit For Life session at the Kardinya Community Centre on April 16 when he went into cardiac arrest.

“It was getting close to the end of the class,” he said.

“I sat down in the chair and just collapsed.”

Class instructor Alicia Antonovsky and participant Ruena Girelli jumped into action, easing Mr Kay off the chair where he had slumped before commencing vital CPR until an ambulance arrived.

“At first I thought he had just fainted,” Ms Antonovsky said, quickly realising the situation was more serious.

“I wasn’t really thinking. You quickly go into ‘gotta do what you gotta do-mode’.”

When paramedics arrived a defibrillator was used to jump-start the 62-year-old’s heart.

He was taken by ambulance to Fiona Stanley Hospital where he spent four days in intensive care before undergoing bypass surgery.

Mr Kay was back at home recovering a week after his operation, admitting he was very fortunate.

“If it wasn’t for the response of those two ladies, I wouldn’t have made it,” he said.

“There are no words I can say to truly thank them.

“Thank you doesn’t feel enough.”

Greg and Cherie Kay.

Ms Girelli, who had only completed first aid training 10 days prior, said it was an emotional moment seeing Mr Kay in hospital.

“To see him smiling and happy was something incredible,” she said.

“It hits you afterwards how quickly someone can go from being a stranger to someone really important.”

Relieved wife Cherie said her husband had received the best care possible, firstly from those in the class through to the paramedics, and staff in the coronary care unit.

“They brought my husband back,” she said.

“The speed of care is what saved his life.”

St John first aid training general manager Aaron Harding said first aid training could prove useful at any moment.

“Because we live and work in such a vast state, having the skills to handle an emergency situation is not just important but it can really be the difference between life and death, as it was in Mr Kay’s case,” he said.

“We know that by having first aid skills, people can, and do, save lives which is why our purpose remains to make first aid a part of everyone’s life.”

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