Show some heart and dig deep

For Moe resident Jill Cheek, supporting charities is a regular occurrence she doesn’t think twice about.

Ms Cheek said although she tried not to spread herself too thinly, she had often door-knocked for different organisations over the years.

This weekend she’ll be door knocking for the Heart Foundation’s Big Heart Appeal, joining more than 100,000 volunteers across Australia who are raising funds throughout September.

“The reason I support the Heart Foundation is because of my dad,” Ms Cheek said.

“My dad had a quadruple bypass in his late 70s about 20 years ago.

“He had a doctor who gave him another 14 years of life.”

Ms Cheek said it was this experience, along with losing a family friend to a sudden heart attack, which drove her to support the nation’s chief non-government body or heart disease research.

“It’s one of those issues we all have a heart; we all know someone who has some form of heart disease,” Ms Cheek said.

“You hear in the community of lots of other people who have heart attacks and lose their loved ones very quickly.

“It’s that sheer, immediate loss.

“I was very fortunate with my dad, heart attack doesn’t necessarily give you that opportunity.”

Heart Foundation Victoria director of fundraising Rob Daly said heart disease was the single leading cause of death in Australia, taking one life every 27 minutes.

Heart disease occurs when a fatty material called plaque builds up on the inside wall of arteries, causing them to become narrow and less blood to reach the heart muscle.

This can lead to a heart attack if a blood clot forms and blocks blood supply to part of the heart.

Mr Daly said the organisation had invested more than $520 million towards research since its inception in 1959.

“In 2015, the Heart Foundation is investing more than $13 million to fund and support research investigating the cause, diagnosis, management and prevention of cardiovascular disease and related disorders,” Mr Daly said.

Ms Cheek appealed to the general public to dig deep this September.

“Supporting the Heart Foundation with donation ensures the ongoing resources that may well save someone’s life that is so close to you,” she said.

“Heart attack or heart disease can happen to anyone at any time and yet it is something that is certainly within our own decision to be able to improve our lifestyle behaviours.”

For more information about the Big Heart Appeal or to register to collect, visit

Reduce your risk of heart disease or heart attack

Risk factors

? High blood pressure

? High cholesterol

? Smoking

? Physical inactivity

? Overweight

? Unhealthy diet

Lifestyle changes

? Diet low in salt and saturated fat

? Daily exercise

? Maintaining healthy weight

? Maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol in healthy range

Ask your doctor for a heart health check if you’re aged 45 or over, or 35 or over if you’re an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Heart health checks can tell you if you’re at risk of heart attack and how to prevent one.