Our Lifesaving Heroes!

Sat 30th January 2021

Three young people from our Cashback – Towards New Futures course became heroes when they put new lifesaving skills to good use and saved a woman’s life. 

Marco Connelly, Jay Roberts, and Melissa Stanulis came to the rescue of a woman after she collapsed in the city centre on the same day they had learned life saving skills on the Foundation’s course. 

Thanks to their quick thinking, the women was kept alive long enough for emergency services to reach the scene and subsequently made a full recovery. 

“It could have so much worse and everyone was just walking past her,” Jay, 16, says as he recalls the day.

“She could have just died there if we were a couple of seconds later.” 

The young people found the woman lying in a lane between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street while on their way home from Ibrox Stadium.

“It was all instinct because of the course,” Jay, from Drumchapel, added. “We shouted at people to phone an ambulance and just knew what to do because we learned it all.

“We started to check for her breath and put her head up so she didn’t choke on her tongue, really the things we learned on the course.

“She wasn’t speaking but I was just speaking to her to keep her engaged. It was a panicky situation but we got there.” 

Melissa, also 16, added, “I was in shock. “Then it was like something flicked in me and I went into action mode and knew exactly what to do.

“I never expected something like that to happen and that I would be able to take action like that.  It was mind blowing.”

“People were just walking past and leaving her but something in me said we couldn’t just walk away from this. I don’t think I could live with myself if we had.” 

Melissa took the decision to give the woman mouth-to-mouth – which isn’t currently being taught due to Covid guidelines – and Jay performed chest compressions and Marco, 23, sprinted off to get a defibrillator from nearby St Enoch subway station. 

“It was actually on the week we had done first aid training and we had done defib training and all that!” explained Marco. “I remember thinking: ‘Thank God Derek [Rhoddan, from the Foundation] put us through for first aid training’.

“We were all panicking and Mel was crying but we all just wanted to do what we could to make sure the woman didn’t die.”

Shortly after Marco arrived back at the scene and gave the woman a few shocks before the police and ambulance crews arrived. 

“The police actually told us she was alive and it was because we saved her,” Marco added.

All three life savers were participants on our Cashback For Communities – Towards New Futures course which is designed to help young people with past experience of the criminal system get a fresh start and find a route into a positive destination such as training, employment or volunteering. 

“I am a mad, mad Rangers fan. That’s what really made this course stand out for me. I’ve got a course on Zoom and it’s with Enable Scotland which Derek and the Foundation helped me get on,” explained Melissa.

“This is going to help me apply for college to learn more about childcare and hopefully get a placement in a nursery. It’s amazing.” 

Jay agrees: “I was speaking to an advisor and she said to me there’s this course.  She mentioned it was at Ibrox and I was like: ‘Aye, I’ll definitely go there!’

“They are helping me to get a job and now I am on a course to get qualifications.” 

He adds: “I want to be either a joiner or an electrician. Some sort of trade. It’s great to have that opportunity.” 

Marco added, “Derek and everyone give us as much support as possible and they’ve told us they are always there if we need them. They’ve helped to give me so many more skills I’ll be able to use to find a new job. If people are thinking about doing it, they just have to do it.”

Jamie Duncanson, the Foundation’s Senior Community Executive, said: “We are very proud of Melissa, Marco and Jay and their quick thinking and bravery on that day. 

“It shows what programmes like our Cashback For Communities – Towards New Futures initiative can do, and the skills and confidence it can give to young people who perhaps need a fresh start in life.

“It’s incredible that they had just completed their first aid training and could put that knowledge to such excellent use straight away. All three of them should be very proud of themselves.”

Our Cashback For Communities – Towards New Futures scheme is due to return at the end of February.

If you would like to take part or for more information, email

Thank you to the Evening Times for use of photogrpahy.


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