A GROUP of 40 female cyclists will this month be using pedal power to get to the heart of a very serious health issue affecting rural Queenslanders.
Girls Got Heart is on a mission to raise money and awareness for the number one killer of Australians, with people living in rural areas being in particular peril.
The campaign’s organisers Rebecca East and Keely Mancini came up with the idea after visiting an old school friend in Meandarra, about 450 km west of Brisbane.
Ms East said the idea formed when the girls heard about a tragedy that occurred as a direct result of having limited access to specialist health services in the country area.
“Our mates’ neighbour dropped dead of a heart attack and because they live in a rural area, he had not been for a heart check up,” she said.
She said he was in his early 40s and died because of an undiagnosed but highly treatable heart condition.
“There was a heart day lunch and we went along to support our friends,” Ms East said.
“We heard from Dr Rolf Gomes, who said we should all leave the planet a better place than how we found it and talked about the need for more rural health specialist services.”
Ms East said the friends were impressed with Dr Gomes’ commitment to rural health by taking a semi-trailer housing his Heart of Australia mobile cardiac unit around outback Queensland.
“After a glass of wine or two, we decided that we could do help by riding our bikes because that’s what we knew how to do.
“When we went back to Brisbane and started to talk about it, people were really interested in taking part and, most importantly, our husbands were entirely supportive which was a good thing because we do tend to come up with some crazy ideas.
“That was in December 2016 and by August 2017 we had 40 women signed on for the ride.
“We raised $120,000 last year and our goal this year is $150,000.”
Ms East said having support from the community was important – not just in terms of donations but also seeing people lining the streets to welcome and encourage.
“We would love everyone to turn up when we get to Beaudesert before we head home,” she said.
“The girls don’t have any idea this might be happening but I know it would mean a lot.”
The girls will be riding through the Scenic Rim on the weekend of September 22 to 23, stopping at Kalbar at 10.30am on Saturday before heading to Boonah for a 2.30pm barbecue hosted by MP Jon Krause.
They will stop at Jubilee Park in Beaudesert on Sunday, September 23 before the return ride, which will see them clock up 280 kms on their bikes.
To support Heart of Australia or find out more about the campaign, visit girlsgotheart.com