Praneel Kumar has waited a year to meet the people who saved his life

Praneel Kumar and his mother Rita with the team that helped save his life
Praneel Kumar and his mother Rita with the team that helped save his life

It's a reunion that has been 12 months in the making, as one lucky teenager got to meet and thank the people who gave him another chance at life.

When 13-year-old Praneel Kumar suffered a cardiac arrest on December 2, 2020, it took the quick thinking of of Kaniva College staff and first responders to ensure he made it to the hospital for life-saving treatment.

Earlier in the day the teenager was walking around the school oval with his class before he collapsed as he was running to his Year 7 class.

Praneel, now 14, and his family have been waiting almost a year to be reunited with the people who saved his life.

On Friday, November 26, Praneel got to finally meet and say thank you to the team from Ambulance Victoria (AV) who helped save his life.

Praneel's teacher, Jessica Carter was there when he collapsed and says she never wants to experience anything like that day again.

Ms Carter was thankful that Kaniva College Business Manager, Leoni Shurdington, was also an AV Ambulance Community Officer (ACO), and was walking past the classroom when students were sent to fetch her.

Another off-duty ACO, Stacey Wallis-Rabone, was near the school and saw the alert, she rushed there in fear it was her own nephew who had collapsed.

"Everything was in his favour," she said.

If Ms Shurdington and Ms Wallis-Rabone had not been so fast, Praneel may not be here today, It was their quick thinking and actions while waiting for on-duty ACOs and paramedics to arrive, that helped him survive.

Today, Praneel was very thankful and his cheeky personality shone through as he thanked everyone for saving his life.

"To sum it up, I don't think, even within my extensive vocabulary, there are words to describe how grateful I am for you all," he said.

Triple Zero call-taker from the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority Lara Connor, was the one behind the scenes making sure everything went smoothly and made the special trip from Ballarat to meet Praneel and his family.

Mrs Connor was honoured to be there today and says it was not a nice call to be on the other end of, but was happy the ordeal ended positively.

"It can be easy to forget about the good outcomes," she said.

At this stage, Praneel would like to pursue a career in paramedics.

"There would be no job as good as being a paramedic," he said.

"You save lives."

Since the accident Praneel has been fitted with a pace maker/ defibrillator, this meant he had to stop playing football, a sport he loves, and is restricted with some school subjects, like metal work.

Praneel needs to travel to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne regularly and doctors are still unsure why he had the cardiac arrest, especially when this is something more common in men over 50.

The happy outcome of this terrifying situation highlights the importance of having a general knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the DRS ABCD response.