FOUR months after lifesaving heart surgery, Dave "Super Chappy" Larkin was back at school ready to greet Preppies on their first day.
Yesterday was the Buderim Mountain State School chaplain's first day back since suffering an aortic aneurysm in September.
Unsure of how he survived the condition that often causes death within a matter of minutes, Mr Larkin said the experience "changed everything".
"I've had to slow down and that's been really hard for me," he laughed.
"For me it's about slowing down and prioritising. I love my family and the kids and they're the priority."
The 42-year-old spent the first day of the school year greeting students and helping Preppies settle in.
"It was so cool to see the kids ... I was giving them all high-fives and all the parents were asking how I was," he said. "They were surprised and excited."
Mr Larkin now has a mechanical valve and a beta blocker to ensure his heart rate remains steady.
Still in the first stages of recovery, the father of five said his time at school would depend on his health.
"I've got to be careful ... it's about listening to my body," he said.
"I can't physically do what I did before ... I can still get out and kick a footy around but it's causing me to slow down."
Mr Larkin defied the odds and woke from an induced coma the day after the aneurysm. He returned home from Prince Charles Hospital to a home full of gifts and food from the school.
"I just cried," he said.
"It was just amazing."
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