Fightback: our battle against heart disease goes up a notch

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Sometimes sitting through a bunch of speeches can get personal, even for a journalist. As they did today at the formal launch of a cardiovascular research hub that will bring two giants of medical research together as one team to save lives in our region.

Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute have joined forces to take the fight against heart disease to a new level.

Having undergone open heart surgery myself across the road from where we were sitting today, it was a personally emotional event that I was there to cover as a journo.

But back to the story, and boy, do we need to escalate everything we do when it comes to bringing down this big killer of Aussies.

The statistics really are that grim: One in four people in our country dies from heart disease every year.

Every 12 minutes someone dies from it, or put another way, 118 of our fellow Australians succumb to it every day.

And if that’s not bad enough, the numbers for our neck of the woods are tragically even worse.

Some of the guests at this morning’s launch of the cardiovascular research hub included the member for Liverpool Charisma Kaliyanda (in red), Campbelltown MP Greg Warren and federal member for Macarthur Dr Mike Freelander and others. TOP: Ingham chair Terry Goldacre. Pictures by South West Voice Photography.

Here in South Western Sydney, more people than anywhere else in the country are admitted to hospital for a heart attack.

Just this number brought back memories of having my heart surgery at Liverpool Hospital in 2012 postponed twice because someone had suffered a heart attack that morning and was given precedence over me.

The incidence of heart disease overall in this region has us leading every other place.

Hopefully today is the first day when things start to change around here.

Certainly, the people leading both Ingham and Victor Chang were adamant that this would be a serious effort in working together to make a difference.

Both Professor Les Bokey, the research director at Ingham, and Professor Jason Kovacevic, CEO and executive director of Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, made that clear in their speeches today.

It’s worth noting that the cardiovascular research hub also includes two other important team members, the local health district and University of NSW.

Another important stakeholder is the NSW minister for medical research, David Harris, who attended this morning’s formality, and in his speech pledged to support it both in the short and the long term.

“Someone make a note of that,’’ said the MC for the event.

As someone who has been through the heart disease mill, and reported on it as well, I strongly urge everyone in this area to support this great union.

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