REAL estate agent, husband, dad, grandfather, master pizza maker, cyclist and philanthropist.
These are all words used to sum up Tony Nastasi, one of the most dedicated participants in the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
“I’ve ridden it every year except one because I was injured, but I was still involved as an escort vehicle that year,” Mr Nastasi said. “I just love everything about the Cardiac Challenge – I love the people you meet, the scenery, the adventure – it’s an absolute life changer,” he said.
And he’s one of the most dedicated fundraisers too – often claiming the top fundraiser gong.
“I was a cyclist before Cardiac Challenge came along 10 years ago but I love it – it’s changed my life through meeting so many people and I know the difference it makes to cardiac services. The money all stays local and helps out the cardiology team. I reckon our cardiology team is leading the way now because of Cardiac Challenge,” he said.
He and wife Jane, whose father died of a heart attack aged 52, are keen cyclists, even when not training for the Cardiac Challenge.
“It’s just a life changer for so many people – I’ve got one friend doing it this year for the first time and she said to me ‘I can’t believe how much fun I’ve been missing out on’. The cycling community is just so supportive and encouraging of each other. There’s people now who were complete rookies in my pack and now they’re out-riding me and doing Ironman events,” he said.
He estimates he has raised more than $40,000 for cardiac services in the past 10 years and enjoys motivating others to improve their fundraising as well. Mr Nastasi, along with Sue Cooper of LJ Hooker Yorkeys Knob, also is a sponsor of The Power of Pallets fundraising event, to be held in October.
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said the efforts of Mr Nastasi, and all the other riders, sponsors and donors, were making a difference to patients’ lives in the Far North every day.
“We’re hearing some incredible stories about positive cardiac outcomes these days and we love knowing that this event changes lives for cyclists and the patients they are helping,” Ms Duncombe said.
Mr Nastasi's fundraising efforts have included pizza nights and tickets in a Thermomix raffle.
To donate to Mr Nastasi's fundraising efforts, click here.
The 10th anniversary Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge departs from Tjapukai from 6am on Saturday, September 17. The Foundation has a one-lane road closure of the Kennedy Highway (Kuranda Range) from 6am-8.45am on that date. All cyclists will be off the Range by 8am. All emergency vehicles will be able to traverse the Range in either direction if required during the closure.
For further information or to donate, visit Cardiac Challenge or www.facebook.com/cardiac.challenge
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