27 Years and Counting – the story of a Maryborough icon
On the 19th of October, 2013, Maryborough icon Frank Kahler achieved a major milestone and celebrated his 100th birthday. More amazingly, as Frank looks toward his 101st birthday, it will be his very first birthday celebrated in aged care – 27 years after his heart bypass surgery in 1987!
Frank Kahler served as the first President of Heart Support-Australia’s Maryborough Branch, as well as the first Maryborough representative on the National Board. He was also among the first to be appointed a Life Member of Heart Support-Australia and was the first member to attend Branch meetings after he turned 100!
Frank has been the backbone of the Maryborough Heart Support Branch which celebrated its 25th birthday in 2013. Frank’s long-time friend, and fellow foundation member, Henry Hogan recalls that Frank understood the value of support and encouragement better than most, and it was Frank’s engaging attitude inspired many people to work alongside him.
“Towards the end of 1987, Frank Kahler had heart bypass surgery in Brisbane. While he was in hospital in Brisbane he was visited by members of the Brisbane Branch of the Australian Cardiacs Association. On returning home he felt the need for support and encouragement so he stayed in contact with the Brisbane Branch. Frank was so impressed with the help he got from the Brisbane Branch he decided to form a Branch at Maryborough and after contacting all of the people he knew to have recently undergone heart surgery, his efforts culminated in a public meeting in August 1988. At that meeting Frank was elected as the inaugural president of the new Maryborough Branch.”
Not only did Frank’s involvement underpin the success of the Maryborough Branch, it also led to the establishment of the Bundaberg Branch in 1991 and the Hervey Bay Branch in 1995. The Bundaberg Branch (base for current National President Liz Coker) has been a shining light in Heart Support-Australia’s history for all of its existence and is not far off from celebrating its own 25th Birthday. Hervey Bay endured and provided its members with significant value for nearly 20 years before the Branch folded in 2012.
What drove Frank’s dedication to Heart Support-Australia and his secret to longevity?
The Maryborough Branch members stuck together and supported each other no matter how few members, and they always made socialising a major focus of Branch activities.
As for his secret to longevity?
“The secret to a long and healthy life is simply … you’ve just got to support each other.” Frank said.
As for Henry’s take on Frank’s longevity, he agrees with Frank’s comment about support, and adds that a regular intake of baked beans and sardines, exercise and not worrying about things that don’t matter, are all factors that have featured in Frank’s life.
To have suffered a heart event in your mid 70’s and then make it past 100 is a testament to Frank’s willingness to contribute and get involved. Frank’s outstanding effort is the feature of effective peer support groups and underpins the values of support, information and encouragement upheld by Heart Support-Australia.