IT was the closure Mat Currie had been waiting almost seven years for.
After a brutal attack in April 2011 that left Mr Currie bleeding on the floor of a Wellington Street unit, he finally had the chance to meet one of the paramedics who saved his life.
Mr Currie, 19 at the time, was visiting friends when a group of men entered the premises and attacked those inside with an axe and machete.
“I walked in from the back room and saw the violence going on,” he said.
Mr Currie said he tried to run for the front door, but was backed into the kitchen.
The young man was struck to the head and body with the weapons, sustaining deep lacerations to his arms, and was punched and kicked by his assailants.
He was taken to Royal Perth Hospital in a serious condition.
Paramedic John McArthur remembered the evening well.
“We got called to another victim who had escaped from the house, but the traffic was backed up; we took another route, and people were running saying it’s in here, it’s in here,” he said.
The emergency responders entered the unit and found Mr Currie on the lounge room floor.
The teenager had to undergo multiple surgeries, with 72 staples across his head, face and arms, nerve damage, a broken elbow and wrist, split head and multiple skin grafts required.
Mr Currie, who now lives in Melbourne, said his attackers were jailed for six years and four months, seven years and four months, and eight years and four months respectively.
On Friday, January 19, in Kings Park, Mr Currie was reunited for the first time with one of the paramedics who saved him.
“I avoided Perth like the plague for many years, and I never had the closure to finish that book; this is the last chapter and it’s done now,” he said.
“I’ve met the man who saved my life.”
Mr McArthur, a paramedic of 28 years, said to see Mr Currie the way he was today was the greatest reward.
“Whenever you get a patient, you protect that person; but when you drop them off at the hospital, you carry a little bit of them with you,” he said.
“I’ve gained closure too.
“The memory you have is what they looked like on that night, but now I get to see him again.”
Mr Currie said the gift Mr McArthur gave him by saving his life pushed him to live his dream and do things he never thought he would do.
“I can now live a life, have a relationship, have a family; it’s an honour to be next to John, he saved someone he didn’t even know,” he said.
He has since done a hospitality course, been a barista, undertaken charity work, travelled across the world, and took to the stage for the first time last year in Melbourne as his drag persona Costalottadolla.
Mr Currie said he wanted people to think about the ripple effect of violence, and stay strong if they were going through tough times.
“If I can tell anyone anything, it’s that you’re stronger than you think you are; there’s always a light in the darkness,” he said.