HE might be the father of one of the Far North’s favourite sons, but that didn’t make Ron Slater immune from heart troubles last year.
It was back in August that he found he couldn’t breath and asked his wife to take him to hospital – halfway there, they had to stop and call the ambulance, so bad were his breathing difficulties.
“I didn’t realise I was having a heart attack – I just thought it was my emphysema,” the 63-year-old Innisfail resident and father of Melbourne Storm player Billy Slater said.
“Dr Starmer put a couple of stents in – he used a diamond drill and a few other things that Cardiac Challenge has raised money for,” Mr Slater said.
“Thank Christ they had that diamond drill,” he said.
“I am very appreciative of those people – they saved my life. You know the ironic thing is I’d had this breathing problem before and I didn’t do anything about it.”
Mr Slater Snr said he had played sport all his life and still led an active lifestyle, despite a few beers, but had now given up smoking.
And as a token of his appreciation, a phone call to son Billy in Melbourne, resulted in a signed Slater State of Origin jersey and cap for the Cardiac Maniacs Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge team to raffle off.
“Yeah, I rang him up and it was here the next week.”
The Cardiac Maniacs have already started fundraising for the September 2016 event.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe showed that Mr Slater recognised the value of the work by the Cairns Hospital Cardiac Care Unit, and the hundreds of cyclists who fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, for cardiac services.
“People like Mr Slater are the reason we do what we do. The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is more than just a bike ride. It is a multiple life saver,” Ms Duncombe said.
For further information, to donate or volunteer for the Foundation visit www.cardiacchallenge.org.au
PHOTO: Ron Slater is flanked by cardiac nurses.
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