If Dave Winner gets his way, one million people will become life savers.
The Coalcliff resident's not talking about the type of life savers who wear red and yellow and frequent our beaches. He's talking about everyday men and women who will have the ability to save a life.
He knows more than most people how CPR training can save a life. He's delivered CPR training as a Coalcliff Surf Club member for years, and he wouldn't be here today if he wasn't in the right spot at the right time.
On August 5, 2021, he was about to jump off the rock shelf, at the back of the ocean pool at Coalcliff, so he could go for a surf, when a large wave caught him off guard. He was swept off the rocks. He was knocked unconscious and failed to resurface.
"I've done that 1000 times in my life," he said of where stood on the rock shelf. "I just got blindsided by the proverbial rogue wave.
"I broke my C2, C3. I fractured my neck, it split my head open and made me unconscious and I drowned that day."
He went into cardiac arrest.
Luckily, he says, two young men saw him get washed into the ocean.
They were about to jump in to look for him, when another wave washed him back up and dropped him "right at their feet".
Luckily, again, the young men had completed their CPR refresher training the night before.
Then two other men who, coincidentally, Mr Winner had trained in CPR, saw the commotion and joined in the efforts to save his life.
The next thing Mr Winner remembers was 10 days later when he woke up in hospital after being in a coma.
"That turns your life upside down and completely changes everything," he said.
With a massive spinal injury to overcome, he spent six months in hospital, most of that time during very strict COVID-19 rules. He wasn't allowed many visitors and didn't get to see his own children for more than three months.
"That was really hard on you mentally when you're laying in a hospital bed, looking at four walls and you can't really talk to your family. They were the tough days," he said.
"I'm a strong believer in things happening for a reason, or for a purpose, and I've been trying to find why this has happened."
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Two years down the track, Mr Winner, 71, has his driver's licence back, he's back at his beloved surf club and he's back teaching CPR again.
His goal is to provide free CPR training to one million Australians by 2030. It's not aimed at people who need the training for work, it's for the mums, dads, grandparents and community members who've always wanted to learn.
"It's non-accredited training with no pressure. Come along and learn from people like myself and other lifeguards and people like that how to do CPR, so they know what to do in those five or 10 or 15 minutes while they're waiting for emergency services," he said.
"I want to see joy on their faces. I want to see people there who want to do it, not because they have to do it."
As he reflect on the very difficult past two years, and his goal ahead, he feels proud.
During those two years his family, friends and the community rallied behind him. They raised funds, altered his house to make it accessible, mowed his lawn, took the bins out, and made meals to help his beloved wife Judy doing those very tough first few months.
"It makes me really proud to be in such a wonderful community. Coalcliff is still a small, little town, but I've got some really, really good friends and the surf club has been so supportive and my mates have been so helpful," he said.
"I take pride in the fact that we're part of this beautiful community down here."
His wife Judy, who sat proudly beside him during this interview, said: "He's thankful, he's inspirational for what he's doing".
Mr Winner is in the final stages of securing insurance and registration as a training provider. To find out more or register your interest in a CPR course visit davewinnerfoundation.org.
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