A MESSAGE FROM THE HEART
A MESSAGE FROM THE HEART: EASTS AND YELLOW WIGGLE JOIN FORCES TO RAISE AED AWARENESS
There were plenty of eager faces at the Sydney Roosters’ Centre of Excellence on Wednesday morning to meet Greg Page, better known as the Yellow Wiggle, who was on site to visit the Club’s facilities.
Even Drew Hutchison – who recently became a father – shared a duet with Greg as players and staff rallied around one of their childhood heroes, with fingers pointed to the camera.
But at the heart of his visit came a very important, life-saving message.
On stage during a Wiggles reunion concert in 2020, Greg was felled by a sudden cardiac arrest, unaware that he had heart disease and with only minutes to keep him alive.
With quick respondents including his bandmates who executed CPR, the beloved figure was thankfully resuscitated. What arguably saved his life, however, was easy access to an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).
“The CPR is vital, but raising awareness about AEDs and making sure people know that they can use them – you don’t have to be trained. We want to break any barriers people have about being able to respond to a cardiac arrest event.”
Greg Page, Heart of the Nation Founder
While he has long since retired as a full-time member of The Wiggles, Greg is back touring again as the face of his charity, Heat of the Nation, to raise awareness around the importance of AEDs.
Heart of the Nation even has an app, where users can sign up as either an alerter or responder, with the initiative set to save countless lives.
Now Greg and Heart of the Nation have teamed up with Easts Group to help spread awareness and knowledge around AED accessibility and procedures.
“For the Easts Group and the Sydney Roosters to get behind this and get this messaging out to the general public is going to help immensely with our mission,” Greg said during his visit to the Centre of Excellence.
“Survival from sudden cardiac arrest in Australia is less than 10%, so I’m one in 10 to survive. We can potentially double that survival rate, so that awareness is vitally important.
“The CPR is vital, but raising awareness about AEDs and making sure people know that they can use them – you don’t have to be trained. We want to break any barriers people have about being able to respond to a cardiac arrest event.
“There is a lot of messaging that Heart of the Nation tries to get out there. The big thing is that we need more people who can be a responder knowing that they don’t have to be trained.
“It’s going to make a massive difference because we know countries where there is greater awareness about CPR and AEDs, they can double the survival rate.”
One of the main contributing factors in bringing about accessibility is the visibility of AEDs within the community – and while it wasn’t intentional, the Heart of the Nation has begun adding the famous yellow of the skivvy Greg donned on AED kits around the country.
After all, cardiac arrests are an event that doesn’t discriminate, with Greg pointing out that anyone, even athletes, can be affected.
There’s a broader offering we need to consider in terms of first aid and other aspects as well that I think we take for granted and don’t think about until a situation arises, so we need to be on the front foot in how we advance our awareness and education.
Joe Kelly, Easts Group CEO
“We’re trying to make AEDs more visible and of the things we’ve done in Sydney Airport is we’re using yellow signage on the cabinets,” Greg explained.
“Usually, it’s a white cabinet with a green sign which a lot of people mistake for first aid kits. They don’t think about it as being a defibrillator, so the visibility aspect is so important.
“Every year in Australia there’s about 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. The ones that are medically caused are around 17,000, and 50% of those people aren’t aware they have an underlying condition
“That could be young sportspeople with a genetic condition so when they put their heart to the test have a malfunction and they go down. With each minute that passes by without attention, there is 10% less chance of survival, so we need to raise awareness in sport as well.
“Heart of the Nation wants to work with organisations such as Easts who are stepping up and saying ‘we want to do our part’ and that’s so powerful, because that’s how we’re going to change survival rates.”
For Easts Group CEO Joe Kelly, there was no hesitation in supporting the initiative, and to support the group’s 60,000-plus member base, including staff and local patrons.
“For us, it was a case without hesitation probably first of all wanting to learn more about Heart of the Nation and their initiative,” Mr Kelly said.
“We’ve got defibrillators in all of our clubs, On those rare occasions, it’s great to know that we have the facility to save someone’s life. We’re a community organisation and we see a necessity for these devices, and we know there’s still more to do in terms of awareness across our broad staffing group.
“That’s both within our leagues clubs and at the Roosters. It’s not only supporting our Members which we put to the front of mind at our licensed clubs, but also our staff.
“There’s a broader offering we need to consider in terms of first aid and other aspects as well that I think we take for granted and don’t think about until a situation arises, so we need to be on the front foot in how we advance our awareness and education.
“It was great to have Greg come through our Centre of Excellence here at Allianz Stadium and we are looking forward to working with Heart of the Nation to continue to raise awareness.”