John Carnevali's Tragic Event

John, a caring, active father and husband suffered a tragic health event. After a heart attack, cardiac arrest and stroke 45-year-old John, father to special needs son Hunter, has been left with brain damage and a life time of 24/7 medical care. Leaving his wife, Melissa, on a single income to support a child with special needs and ever mounting medical bills for the rest of John’s life. John’s injuries are so severe he may never be able to come home to his family.

Melissa is suffering through the worst time in her life. On top of caring for her son with special needs and staying at John’s bedside, she now carries an enormous financial burden.

Saturday 2nd June 2018 was just a normal Saturday, where John would spend the morning encouraging and guiding the boys from the sidelines as coach of his 10-year-old son’s Basketball Team. John loved this event each week, being able to inject all his enthusiasm and energy into making the basketball game. win, lose or draw John always made the boys feel like winners.
John loved sports and keeping active, being fit and strong John would enjoy dirt bike riding, football and having a great time with his family and friends.

The rest of the day was spent having family time with his much-loved wife, Melissa and their son, Hunter.
Melissa and John went to bed that night not knowing that their lives were going to change forever.

Melissa was woken in the early hours of Sunday morning to find John in Cardiac Arrest and completely non-responsive. Melissa frantically administered CPR whilst calling 000 for an ambulance. Once the paramedics arrived they worked frantically to get a pulse, by this time John had gone around 20 minutes without oxygen to his brain. The paramedics work full-heartedly on John for 2 hours before he was stable enough to rush him to hospital.

Once John arrived at the hospital he was immediately placed in an induced coma, and the doctors reduced his body temperature to try and protect his brain. After a battery of tests, the Doctors shared the grim news with Melissa that John had a massive heart attack, cardiac arrest and a mild stroke.

The 3 days following John’s heart attack were a complete nightmare for Melissa, as he wasn't responding as hoped. The doctors were warning Melissa to expect brain damage and to prepare for the worst, being told by some to turn off life support.
On day 3, to the surprise of all of us John woke and briefly opened his eyes and squeezed Melissa’s hand. The doctors were amazed, but our hope was short lived.

John’s doctors are now telling Melissa that he has brain damage and may not improve. John, at times, recognises Melissa and Hunter, but does not understand that they are his wife and son. John’s speech is nonsensical, he does not know how old he is, where he lives, or what year it is and when shown a photo of himself there is no recognition.

The John we all know is now gone, he is a shadow of his former self with brain damage he must relearn what we all take for granted. Much like an infant, he must learn to walk, talk, sit, eat, drink, swallow, use the toilet and much much more.

No-one can confirm the prognosis, but they can all agree that John will never be the same again, 20 minutes without oxygen is a very long time. For those of us who know John, the way he used to be, seeing him now is heart breaking and we can only imagine the hell Melissa is going through right now. Spending day and night by his side in hospital, the stress she is under right now even simple things like sleeping and eating are being forgotten. With family helping look after their son Hunter.

John and Melissa have such a long journey ahead of them, with on-going medical costs, rehabilitation and John will need acute 24/7 care, he may not be able to go home to his family.


John is Melissa’s everything, they are each other’s best friend,  and now for starkly different reasons are both living an absolute nightmare, and it is not about to end anytime soon. There is now a massive void where the John we all used to know would be, Melissa yearns for her husband, and Hunter wishes for his Dad to come home.

Life as a sole parent is never an easy task, but it is made all the harder for Melissa, as Hunter was born prematurely due to HELLP Syndrome, leaving Hunter with an Intellectual Disability, Heart Conditions and Autism.

Melissa and John have worked hard together to ensure that Hunter has had the same opportunities as other children, involving him in lots of physically and social activities. This is something that two caring and dedicated parents directed all their energy and time towards. Melissa now has the responsibility of bringing up their special needs son by herself.


Everyone who knows John knew a proud and strong man, someone that adores his family, spending all his time with his wife and son.
John had such a big personality, he lit up the room with his massive smile and so much enthusiasm and energy. John would go out of his way to make everyone feel comfortable, he really cared about people, and had such a big heart, doing anything to help a mate.


We decided to set up a Go Fund Me account because Melissa needs to concentrate all her energy on John and Hunter, and she needs your help and support.

We can’t help her care for her husband or son, but we can help provide some financial relief.

The medical, rehabilitation and on-going assisted living costs are going to pile up, and with Melissa having to divide her time between caring for John, raising Hunter and still having to bring in the only income, she needs your help.

Anything you can spare will be greatly appreciated, if you are not in a position to help then we would love for you to share the link to as many people as you can in the hope we can make their life a little easier.



  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 16 mos
  • Evelyn Liu 
    • $200 
    • 18 mos
  • Meryam Ishak 
    • $20 
    • 21 mos
  • Seabrook Sonics Coach 
    • $70 
    • 22 mos
  • Giovanna Ayoub 
    • $20 
    • 23 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Carnevali Carers (2)

Chantel Thornley Poole 
Raised $6,651 from 58 donations
Werribee, Vic
Jason Ware 
Team member
Raised $2,444 from 29 donations
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