A CELEBRITY fitness trainer has launched a campaign to get lifesaving medical devices into businesses and homes after losing a beloved friend to a heart attack.
World champion ironman and surf lifesaver, Guy Leech, wants firms, and even families, to invest in $2000 easy-to-use defibrillators which could mean the difference between life and death.
He believes his friend Charles Stewart, 63, known as Chucky, could have survived if one of the devices had been close when he had a heart attack in Manly, in January.
Leech, from Curl Curl, has trained stars including Madonna and George Clooney. He had been friends with the journalist, writer and filmmaker who used to work for Channel 9 on The Today Show, Wide World of Sports and Sports Sunday for 20 years.
He said he was like “an older brother” to him.
Chucky, from Seaforth, took part in Leech’s paddling group three times a week at Manly Cove, and was ‘strong and fit’ according to Leech
But on January 4, tragedy struck.
While the group was out in the harbour, Leech got a message that Chucky was heading back because he “wasn’t feeling 100 per cent”.
And when the group got back to Manly Cove not long after, they noticed a man being given CPR on the grass near the beach.
Leech was shocked to realise it was his friend. He took over CPR until an ambulance arrived and a defibrillator brought back a faint heartbeat.
But it was too late, and Chucky’s life support was switched off at the Royal North Shore Hospital six days later.
Now Leech wants Chucky’s death to make a difference. He’s teamed up with defibrillator firm Physio-Control to get more into companies and homes.
“It’s the difference between life and death,” he said. “More than 500 people a week have heart attacks or strokes. Unless a defibrillator is put on you within about three minutes you’ve got a 10 per cent chance of survival.
“The average time for an ambulance to arrive is 12 or 13 minutes.
“I don’t want Chucky’s death to be something that just goes by. He would want something to come from it.”