AN unexpected round of “plumbing” to his heart, meant Shane Craige (pictured) could not take part in his fourth Cardiac Challenge this year.
The 49-year-old Weipa resident has taken part in the event three times and was ready to register for this year’s event later this month, when a sudden heart attack put paid to his plans.
A rapid flight whisking him from Weipa to Cairns on the RFDS plane, meant he got to experience some of the equipment he has helped fundraise for in the past.
“I was always aware that there was a strong family history, so therefore I considered that heart disease was a possibility,” Mr Craige said.
“I woke up on the Sunday morning, I was about to go for a walk with my wife, but I had a bit of heaviness and I felt a bit clammy. We thought it was unusual so we went straight to (Weipa) Hospital,” he said.
It turned out he had a number of blockages in his heart, which required cardiac intervention.
Once he was on the road to recovery, Shane started making donations to a number of current riders, who he has ridden with in the past.
“The team at the hospitals in Cairns and Weipa were just awesome and I felt so at ease, knowing they were looking after me. At one point I was having an ECG and one of the staff pointed to the machine and said ‘Cardiac Challenge paid for this’, so that was a pretty good feeling,” he said.
The Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge is in its 11th year, and will depart Cairns on Saturday, September 16 for its three-day pilgrimage to Cooktown.
Since inception in 2007 by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, the event has raised more than $2.8 million. The Foundation recently announced it would be fundraising $1.4 million towards a second cardiac catheter lab in Cairns, which would mean less people have to travel away for vital cardiac treatment.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said it was unfortunate that Shane’s story was one she heard so many times.
“Shane and hundreds of others are really lucky we have such a great team and great equipment here, but we really do need the community’s support to help fix more hearts in Far North Queensland,” Ms Duncombe said.