Cyclists save many lives

5/04/2017

The annual Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is one of the biggest fundraising events in the Far North.
The event, a three-day bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, is now in its 11th year and has produced some spectacular outcomes.
Not only has it changed the lives of thousands of participants in a myriad of ways, but it also changes the lives of cardiac patients.
Since inception, the event has raised more than $2.5 million, which has gone to a variety of cardiac services in the region.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager and Cardiac Challenge ride director Glenys Duncombe said 1614 cyclists have participated, riding a combined total of about 868,000km in the event.
Heart disease is a major health issue in Far North Queensland, which has a larger-than-state average percentage of both older and Indigenous residents, who are susceptible to developing cardiac problems.
The diagnosis and treatment of heart disease also can be challenging in the Far North, due to the number of remote communities that do not have ready access to specialised health services.
Even cardiac patients who live in the city of Cairns may find themselves compelled to leave home, family and friends, and travel to a hospital in Townsville or Brisbane to undergo a surgical procedure that Cairns Hospital is not currently equipped to handle.
But thanks to the Cardiac Challenge, things are changing.
Crucial medical equipment purchases and services funded by the Cardiac Challenge include:
Echocardiography (ultrasound) system for young heart patients: this updated equipment assists the paediatric cardiologist at Cairns Hospital, who treats youngsters ranging in age from premature babies (one in every 100 children is born with a heart problem) to 18-year-olds.
Portable echocardiography system for young heart patients: bought in 2011, this equipment enables the Cairns Hospital paediatric cardiologist to assess young patients in the field.
Two intra-aortic balloon pumps: both the first pump, bought in 2008, and a second portable model funded in 2013, were obtained for the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at Cairns Hospital, which handles patients with heart problems.
 

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