They breathed life back into our son

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JANE HANSEN

EV­ERY time Jeremy Nel­son and Rachel Miles hug their son Xavier, they feel like em­brac­ing the two men who saved their 12-year-old.

Only one in three par­ents know how to per­form CPR but Xavier was lucky enough that two dads with that skill were on hand when he went into car­diac ar­rest.

Xavier was at a friend’s party on De­cem­ber 9 when he climbed out of their pool, lay down and stopped breathing.

The party was at Chris Kirk­wood’s house, while Mark Col­ston was there to pick up his son Leo when they both saw Xavier.

“I rushed to his side,” Mr Col­ston, 48, said. “He was non-re­spon­sive and I couldn’t hear a heart­beat so I started mouth-to-mouth. Chris rang the am­bu­lance and then started CPR.”

Mr Col­ston had com­pleted two first aid cour­ses that in­cluded CPR. “The big­gest fear for me was, am I con­fi­dent in that sit­u­a­tion? I was kind of pan­icked but I knew what to do,” Mr Col­ston said.

Mr Kirk­wood also knew CPR but had not prac­tised it since his days in the Scouts.

“I’d prac­tised on dum­mies but not on a lit­tle child. The adren­a­line kicked in, it just had to be done. Mark did the breathing and I did the pump­ing,” Mr Kirk­wood, 48, said.

The dads per­formed CPR on Xavier for 11 min­utes un­til paramedics ar­rived.

When Xavier’s par­ents rushed to the Haber­field house they saw dozens of emer­gency ve­hi­cles out the front and they weren’t even al­lowed around the back.

“Time stands still when some­thing like this hap­pens. They flew in he­li­copters and brought in pae­di­atric doc­tors to sta­bilise him,” Mr Nel­son said.

It took more than an hour to sta­bilise Xavier. CPR kept his blood mov­ing and oxy­gen sup­plied to his brain.

“It was just aw­ful. The first time I saw him he was in­tu­bated and be­ing loaded into the back of the am­bu­lance,” Ms Miles said.

Two months later, Xavier has fully re­cov­ered. Doc­tors still don’t know what caused his sud­den car­diac ar­rest but he has a de­fib­ril­la­tor im­plant in his chest in case it ever hap­pens again.

What doc­tors — and his par­ents — know is that Xavier is only here to­day be­cause of those dads.

“Ab­so­lutely, so many events that hap­pened that day meant Xavier is alive to­day. If they had not known CPR, it would be a dif­fer­ent story. It is hard to ex­press how grate­ful I am for peo­ple to have these skills,” Mr Nel­son said.

As a teacher, Ms Miles does CPR train­ing ev­ery year but can­not stress enough how im­por­tant it is.

“They saved his life, they knew what to do and they kept their cool. They are amaz­ing men. I want to buy them a cas­tle,” Ms Miles said.

Picture: Sam Rut­tyn

Jeremy Nel­son and son Xavier are for­ever thank­ful that peo­ple with CPR skills were at the pool party where the 12-year-old went into car­diac ar­rest.

CPR saviours Chris Kirk­wood and (right) Mark Col­ston.

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