A WONTHAGGI man has had the opportunity to thank the heroes who saved his life.

John Berry went into cardiac arrest back in April, spending several weeks in hospital.

But it wasn’t until last Friday, at the Wonthaggi Ambulance Station, when he had the chance to thank, in-person, those credited with saving his life.

It was a normal Wednesday afternoon in April when John decided to mow his front lawn.

Suddenly, he collapsed – with the lawnmower still running.

John was unresponsive and seizing when local tradie Ash Larcombe ran over from his job site to help.

Ash immediately called Triple Zero (000) and began performing CPR – a decision that saved John’s life.

Ash was helped by several locals, whose efforts kept John alive until paramedics arrived seven minutes later.

“I walked inside to grab some things and he was mowing the lawn, but when I came out, he had collapsed and was laying on the ground,” Ash said.

John spent a number of weeks in hospital but has made a good recovery so far and is extremely grateful for the efforts of Ash and the Wonthaggi paramedics who saved his life.

John is still in shock by the support he has received from his local community and the Wonthaggi Ambulance branch and cannot thank them enough for everything they did for him on that afternoon in April.

“Realistically, I still haven’t come to terms that I shouldn’t be here,” John said.

Duncan Roney, MICA senior team manager Bass Coast, said: “The thing we want to protect is the brain, and the only way we can do that is to do chest compressions, so we get the heart restarted. By doing that, Ash, you made a huge difference – it’s massive.”

On the scene were two Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedics, Mick Azzopardi and Jonathan Moncrieff, and two Advanced Life Support (ALS) paramedics, Sam Nicholls and Jane Alldis.

To get more people in the community like Ash to help in emergencies, Ambulance Victoria is calling on people to help save lives this ‘Shocktober’ by learning CPR and signing up as a GoodSAM responder.

Now in its second year, Shocktober is a month-long campaign aimed at improving cardiac arrest survival rates.

Ambulance Victoria CEO Professor Tony Walker said with only one in ten people surviving a cardiac arrest, everyone has a role to help improve this statistic.

“Shocktober is about giving more Victorians the chance to go home to their families,” Professor Walker said.

GoodSAM is a lifesaving app that connects patients in cardiac arrest with a nearby volunteer who is willing to start hands-only CPR while an ambulance is on the way.

John was lucky that Ash was in the area and knew how to respond, but Ash was not a GoodSAM responder, and it was pure luck that he was at the right place at the right time to save John’s life.

However, more than 50 Victorians are alive today after receiving early CPR from GoodSAM responders.

“Our message is simple – you don’t need to be a paramedic to be a lifesaver, you just have to be over 18 and willing to give hands-only CPR,” Professor Walker said.

For information about the GoodSAM app and how to sign up, visit heartrestarter.com.au.

To learn how to do CPR and use an AED (defib), visit ambulance.vic.gov.au.


• Every day, around 18 Victorians will suffer a cardiac arrest and only 1 in 10 survive.

• When bystanders act to call Triple Zero (000), begin CPR and shock using an AED, the chances of survival increase by 72 per cent.

• Every minute a patient is in cardiac arrest, not receiving CPR or AED shock, chances of survival drop by 10 per cent.

• Organisations or groups who have an AED on-site are encouraged to register the device with Ambulance Victoria via registermyaed.ambulance.vic.gov.au.

• You can also visit this website to find AEDs located near you.