Like most cardiac arrest patients, Benita had no warning signs.
"I didn’t feel anything at all. I wasn't sick, I hadn't been ill, I didn't feel any pain whatsoever, I didn't feel it coming on – it just happened."
Benita spent the Christmas holidays recovering at home with family and taking it easy. She now lives with a permanent defibrillator in her chest, the size of a matchbox and as heavy as an old 50 cent piece.
She’s back teaching again but has to remind herself to take things slowly. Napier Intermediate have welcomed her back with open arms; they've also invested in their own AED from Heart Saver, just in case – $1895+GST for the price of a life.
"I am so lucky – my husband and I keep saying that it happened at the right place, at the right time, surrounded by the right people doing the right things," she says.
Now Benita wants to share her story to make others aware that cardiac arrest can strike anyone at any time and the main thing is to know how to respond to it and where your nearest AED is.
"I'm so grateful that our staff had all done first-aid recently and that we knew what an AED was and where the nearest one was. Everyone at work has now added the AED Locations app to their phone to find out where their nearest AED is, wherever they are – it's really important."