Your Stories. 

Meet some of our Do it for Heart fundraisers

Greg and Royce ran 4x4x48

Every day, 440 Aussies are hospitalised with coronary heart disease (CHD), the leading cause of death in Australia. For Greg Lingard, whose dad was diagnosed with CHD three years ago, the numbers were all too real.

In response, Greg and his friend Royce Mathews signed up to Do it for Heart, committing to run 4 miles every 4 hours over 2 days to raise money for Aussie hearts. By the end of the challenge, they’d raised more than $3,000.

“We both had ambitions for a greater cause, which was bigger than our own self-interests. The Heart Foundation was an obvious choice.”

Greg and Royce, Challenge fundraise

Lucas ran a marathon

Lucas Chesterton was devastated when his dad was diagnosed with heart failure. But rather than giving in to despair, Lucas decided to take action: he became a Do it for Heart fundraiser, signing up to run the Astana Marathon in Kazakhstan and raising almost $5,000 for Aussie hearts.

“It was physically and mentally the toughest thing I have ever done but knowing there was a bigger purpose as to why I was doing it made it easy.”

Lucas Chesterton, Challenge fundraiser

Beenleigh BMX Club races in memory of Emma.

When Emma Wolter, a beloved mother and member of the Beenleigh BMX Club sadly passed away from a heart condition, the club decided to host an annual memorial race day in her honour.

The ‘Flats and Flannies race day’ is a fun competition that aims to raise awareness of the impact of heart disease to the 1,000 plus riders and their families who attended the event.

“The Beenleigh BMX Committee is striving each year to make the event a great success. We are a very proud organisation who love to support their local community."

Beenleigh BMX Club, Host fundraiser

Jen and Tom celebrated their wedding

Jen Wilkinson and her partner Tom have a grim family history in common: both their dads have had (and survived) a heart attack.

So, when Jen and Tom got married, they set up a Do it for Heart fundraiser, asking guests to donate instead of giving wedding gifts. Nearly $400 later Jen and Tom’s generosity is supporting Aussie hearts everywhere.

“We wanted to support a charity that meant not only so much to us but to our guests as well. It was a great to be able to share our [Do it for Heart] fundraising page on our wedding website.”

Jen and Tom, Celebrate fundraisers

Laps for Tommy

Before getting to celebrate his third birthday, Michael’s nephew Tommy had to undergo surgery to put a pacemaker in.

Tommy’s tiny heart rate was falling below 40 beats per minute. Michael decided to take on a fitness challenge to support Tommy and raise funds for the Heart Foundation.

Michael ran 1,000 laps (43.6 km) of his gym in 7 hours and raised over $7,300.

“I am so grateful for all the support I received. Through simply sharing my fundraising page on Instagram support flooded in, thank you. It was a very rewarding experience.”

Michael Bull, Challenge fundraiser

Run for Sue

After losing a close friend Sue to a rare heart condition, Harrison Walker wanted to take on a challenge that celebrated her love for fit and healthy lifestyle. While the pandemic prevented him being able to take on an organised fun run, Harrison went ahead and ran 21 km in her memory.

“I felt the challenge of running a half marathon was the perfect fundraiser as Sue was an avid runner. By completing my run and raising the money I did I felt like I honoured Sue and her passing in a positive way and brought awareness to a rare and unfamiliar disease.”

Harrison Walker, Challenge fundraiser

Connecting people through fundraising events

When Asha awoke from appendix surgery, she was shocked to be told she had a serious cardiac condition: so serious that her heart had stopped beating in recovery. Just 17, a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy was confronting.

That’s why she’s helping the Heart Foundation. “I’m planning some fun, low-key social and online fundraising events, to connect people and talk about what the Heart Foundation does. It’s a cause close to my heart.”

Asha Grigg, Host fundraiser

Fulton Hogan Flyers

The Fulton Hogan Flyers have been participating in the 100 km cycle challenge from Brisbane to Gold Coast since 2012 raising over $175,000 for the Heart Foundation. 

In 2021 team captain Kelsey recruited 30 Fulton Hogan riders to participate in the event and contacted suppliers as they auctioned off spots on their cycle jersey for their sponsors. Through this initiative they raised over $10,000.  

“The Fulton Hogan team believe in the work the Heart Foundation do and know how heart disease effects family which is why we take on the challenge each year. It’s also a great ride with excellent comradery.” 

Fulton Hogan, Challenge fundraiser

Steve Wylie

Since 2016, Steve Wylie has been organising the Heart Foundation Golf Classic in honour of his best friend Tom Dowley, who tragically passed away from heart disease. 

Every year, friends, family members and golfers gather to play a round, boost awareness about heart disease and raise funds for the Heart Foundation. This year, the event attracted more than 100 golfers and raised an amazing $16,500, which Steve said was a "record outcome". 

Many activities and innovative approaches were used to increase funds raised on the day. The “Let the Pro take your shot” raised over $1,700 by allowing the events' golf pro to "step in for a fee" for individual players throughout the day. 

The event also had an educational focus with Deborah Moore from the ACT/NSW Heart Health Team speaking on the importance of the Heart Health Check and one of Steve's friends, Trevor, sharing his experience of recent open heart surgery. 

Steve said “Everyone had an amazing day and certainly dug very deep for this wonderful cause, which was so rewarding to experience.” 

Steve Wylie, Host fundraiser

Heath Smith

Heath Smith has a family history of heart disease after his father suffered a heart attack. The Heart Foundation supported his dad’s recovery and as a way to give back, Heath signed up to the Gold Coast Marathon to fundraise and help raise money for lifesaving heart research.

Unfortunately, due to Covid the event was cancelled but that wasn’t going to stop Heath. He set up a challenge fundraiser and completed a marathon on his own, raising over $1,700 for the Heart Foundation.

“The highlight of the experience was without doubt the kind and generous support of the many people who supported the cause with donations, encouragement and well wishes. It was clear that supporting the advancement of treatment, prevention and care for people suffering from or at risk from heart disease is something that’s important to many people here in Australia.”

Heath Smith, Challenge fundraiser

Katrina Umback

Katrina went above and beyond to raise funds and awareness to fight heart disease in memory of her late husband, Scott, who passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack in 2019. 

In 2021, she and Hearturday co-founder Neil Butler hosted a 12-hour radio program on goRadio Live, featuring an 80s music party where callers could request a song for a donation to heart research. 

The radio marathon featured interviews with the former Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, Heart Foundation Victorian CEO, Kellie-Ann Jolly and Dr Jasmine Just, Senior Medical Writer. 

Katrina and Neil were blown away by the support they received – raising a total of $20,141 for the Heart Foundation – far exceeding their $5,000 target. 

“Even more important than the money were the messages we received from people telling us about actions they were going to take as a result of the event. Several people told us that they were going to organise their heart health check with their doctors. We know of two businesses who have committed to purchasing an AED (defibrillator) for their workplace. 

We have had other people telling us about the things they learned from our conversations – for example, a couple of people saying that they would now feel confident in using an AED, whereas before they would have stood back and waited for someone qualified to use one.” 

Katrina Umback, Host fundraiser

ACT Veterans Rugby Club 

This is what sports is all about  In addition to enabling the prolongation of its members’ rugby playing careers, and maintaining their fitness and mental well-being, the ACT Vets deserve a shout out for their community activities. These guys not only actively support and contribute to grass roots rugby in the Canberra region, but the club also hosts several annual charity matches throughout the year - proudly having donated over $550,000 to Canberra region charities overall!

Recently, the Heart Foundation Cup game, sponsored by TSA Management, was played in memory of the Vets’ club members who have passed away and also to support the Heart Foundation, with a total of $1,500 was donated to the foundation after the game. A huge effort by all the members that we so greatly appreciate!! THANK YOU

Photography by Jaye Grieshaber from Jayzie Photography

Dan Lowe 

5 years ago, Dan suffered a cardiac arrest while on the treadmill at his gym, Orangetheory Fitness and was saved by the quick actions of his instructor, and three fellow members using the defibrillator. Years after his event, not surprisingly, Dan is now an advocate for supplying more defibrillators in public spaces; and a vocal supporter of the Heart Foundation.

In February this year, Dan and the team at Orangetheory Fitness ran a 90 minute fitness session with attendees donating $20 to participate. Their fantastic initiative not only got members of the community moving, but also raised an impressive $541!

“The work the Heart Foundation do is something that is extremely close to me, and our Orangetheory Fitness community love to support these events. Any support that I can provide to increase exposure to better heart health, I’ll take part in."

Dan Lowe, Challenge fundraiser