Port Macquarie Branch
The speech below was delivered by Minister Leslie Williams in Parliament in October 2016.
Ms LESLIE WILLIAMS ( Port Macquarie—Minister for Early Childhood Education, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and Assistant Minister for Education) (13:30:43):
Recently I had the great pleasure of attending the opening of the biennial craft exhibition of the Laurieton Haven Craft Centre at the Uniting Church in Laurieton to see some of the fantastic craft work undertaken by the ladies of that group. It was a wonderful exhibition and showcased the high standards of work carried out over the past two years with the theme of Uluru—Romancing Our Country. Congratulations go to president, Doreen Bates, and her committee on the work they did, and continue to do, to raise money for very worthwhile organisations.
This year’s funding recipient charity was Heart Support Australia, Port Macquarie branch. Heart Support Australia is an organisation which provides support for people who have experienced trauma associated with having a heart condition—patients, a spouse, a partner or a parent of a child. I have been a long-time supporter of this organisation and have attended a number of its fundraising activities. At the opening of the craft exhibition we heard from wonderful guest speaker Traci Moore, who took the opportunity to share her story of having had a heart condition and how she now spends time helping others in a similar position.
Traci and her partner, John, moved to Laurieton in July 2014 from their northern beaches home in Sydney. It was during the moving process that Traci started to feel fatigued, with some tightness in her chest, which she put down to the stress of moving. After a couple of visits to the doctor—unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how one looks at it—Traci was diagnosed with a serious heart condition which resulted in her having to have a double bypass. As one can imagine, it was a huge shock to her to suddenly face the fact that she was about to undergo open-heart surgery. Luckily the surgery was a complete success and Traci says that with the support of the doctors, nurses, family and the Lord she has now recovered and uses her time to help others through her volunteering work with Heart Support Australia.
Heart Support Australia was established in Port Macquarie around 10 years ago with the purpose of supporting people who have had similar heart problems and to provide information on heart issues. Traci is part of the hospital team which visits patients a few times a week in the Coronary Care Unit and in other wards, and teams also visit the rehab unit at the hospital weekly. Traci also gives talks to community groups including Probus, seniors groups and just about anyone who wants to learn more about heart health, which is something we should all be thinking about. I thought I would share some of Traci’s information, courtesy of Heart Support Australia, particularly about women and heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in Australia. On average, it kills 27 Australian women every day. While risk factors are similar for both men and women, a woman’s risk of heart disease increases significantly after menopause. Heart disease kills more than three times as many women as breast cancer. Only 30 per cent of women are aware that symptoms of heart attack can include fatigue, nausea, arm pain, jaw pain or sweating. Being aware of heart disease is important and there are things we can all do to have a healthy heart. We should remember that small changes can make a huge difference. We should all consider visiting a healthcare professional for a heart health check. We should know our numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars and waist circumference. For those people who smoke, quit. We should make healthy food choices, maintain a healthy weight and be active each day.
While Traci Moore is a typical case of someone who has had a heart condition, she is anything but typical in using her experience to help educate others. I was captivated by her speech at the craft exhibition and I wanted to highlight what she is doing and to thank her sincerely for helping others across our local community. I also take this opportunity to thank all of the volunteers of Heart Support Australia for the work they do in supporting others.