A six-year-old boy has survived the unthinkable — bitten not once, but twice in eight days by a venomous snake.
It happened in Wongan Hills in the Wheatbelt.
Joel Canning’s family is now warning others to learn the first aid skills that saved him.
Joel knew he was in trouble, but told himself “I’m not going to die ... I’m not doing to die.”
Joel’s mother Pippa recalls her son coming up to her.
“He came in quite calmly and asked me if you get bitten by a venomous snake in Australia — do you go to heaven? And I said yes ... and then he went down. He collapsed... and that was the only... that is when I realised it was real.”
The six-year-old was dying, he had been bitten by one of the world’s most venomous snakes: a western brown.
“He wasn’t breathing and I knew I had to just ... breathe for him,” Ms Canning said.
It happened around the corner from his Wongan Hills home.
Incredibly, Joel knew not to panic.
But the venom was moving fast.
“Somehow I got the strength to pick him up ... walk through the house with him while he was convulsing... his eyes were rolling back. He was hissing... and I knew he wasn’t getting enough oxygen ...so every third step I stopped and did rescue breaths before being able to get him in the back seat of the car,” Ms Canning said.
Joel’s mum and dad raced him to Wongan Hills Hospital, before he was flown to Perth.
And then eight days later — the unthinkable happened.
Joel was bitten on the left foot — again by a western brown snake and again on the same street — this time across the road.
“He was losing the ability to move, to talk properly,” his mother said.
She once again thought Joel was going to die, but he stayed positive.
“I thought I was going to survive again because I survived the first time ... and I did... so when I prayed for that ... my prayer came true.”
And Joel was right, it could have been because he still had anti-venom in his body from the first bite.
Seven months later and Joel isn’t the same little boy.
“They’re major anxiety attacks and they can happen at any time... they’ve been happening at school now... so when he did cross country because of his heart pounding and they're running through the bush he thought it was the venom again,” Ms Canning said.
The Canning family is dreading the warmer weather — as means snakes are out of hibernation.
Their message to WA families — is simple: know first aid.
This article originally appeared on PerthNow.