Best of both worlds

Alistair McCooke is a recipient of an OAM for his service to lifesaving. (supplied)

By Justin Flynn

Alistair McCooke is well known in Ocean Grove for his work as a surf lifesaver, paramedic and for increasing awareness for multiple myeloma.

Alistair was awarded a medal of the Order of Australia on Monday.

He has rescued dozens of people from dangerous surf during his decades-long career as a lifesaver in Ocean Grove. He was club captain in 1986, 1987, 2002 and 2003.

“The OAM, for me, represents the love and commitment I have for volunteer surf life saving from when I joined the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club in 1984 to present day,” he said.

“I enjoy mentoring others and have always played a keen role in education. I feel a strength of surf life saving is the development of great Australians.”

Alistair is an intensive care paramedic and a campaigner for Ambulance Victoria’s HEARTSafe Communities, ensuring that automatic external defibrillators (AED) are made available at private and public events.

Alistair earned an Australian Surf Lifesaver of the Year award and Victorian Surf Lifesaver of the Year in 2004.

“In 2013 I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the bone marrow,” he said.

“Whilst I retired from Ambulance Victoria I continued working when health would permit but with a little less intensity. In 2018, I was a patient in a medical trial which I found very challenging.

“My wife Tracey was very concerned about my physical and psychological wellbeing so we decided to make the move to Tugun on the Gold Coast.”

Alistair and Tracey moved back to Ocean Grove in February this year.

“I’m also very fortunate to have an incredible team of health care professionals support at the

Andrew Love Cancer Centre,” he said.

“Now continuing with dual surf life saving memberships at Ocean Grove and Coolangatta SLSC I feel we have the best of both worlds.”