In December 2016, Rebecca East and Keely Mancini attended a fundraising event in Meandarra, five hours West of Brisbane. The event was held at ‘Uralla’ a property owned by Bec’s long time friends, Scott and Ann-Marie Attwool.
Bec and Keely arrived to one of the hottest days of the year, 44 degrees in the shade, but the heat was the furthest thing from anyones’ mind. The 300 guests braved the heat dressed in typical farmer attire, long sleeved shirts, heavy pants and RMs, women in heels and their best frocks.
This event had been organised by the Meandarra community in memory of a local farmer, Graeme Bridle. Bec and Keely, inspired by the energy and spirit of this rural community soon stopped complaining about the heat as they listened to the tribute to Graeme who had died suddenly due to an undiagnosed heart condition. Had he known, he might still be here today.
As the day progressed, seeing the strength and spirit of this community, the way everyone came together to support each other in good times and bad was something that touched both Bec and Keely. They were inspired to do something to help.
Bec and Keely came away from that day in December very aware that what they took for granted in the city was not available in the country, they began to discuss and plan a way in which they could help. Combining their love for cycling and endurance events they organised a ride from Brisbane to Meandarra in 2017 with 34 riders and 15 support crew. Building on the huge success of this first ride event, Bec and Keely co-founded Girls Got Heart.
The fundraising event in Meandarra was raising money specifically for the Heart of Australia. Dr Rolph Gomes, a cardiologist and founder of the Heart of Australia, was the guest speaker, he talked about his dream to take critical health services out to rural Queenslanders. That dream is now a reality after designing the first mobile heart clinic, Heart 1 which was launched in 2014, Heart of Australia now has three Heart trucks travelling through rural Queensland. Heart of Australia have also been a beneficiary of Girls Got Heart who have contributed over $180,000 to the build of Heart 3.
To find out more about Dr Gomes and his story please click here http://www.abc.net.au/austory/content/2015/s4418731.htm
Queenslanders, living and working in rural and isolated communities too often find themselves in a position where they rarely put their health first. Often ignoring the signs that may prompt them to seek out health care because it is too hard and takes up too much time, they simply cannot afford to be away from their property. Queenslanders living in rural communities do not receive the same level of medical care that we do in the city with devastating consequences and this is something that needs to change.