Heart Support Australia
Madam Speaker, I wish to take a few moments this afternoon to speak in support of Heart Support-Australia. Heart Support-Australia has grown into a nationwide non-profit organisation that supports heart patients, but it has its humble origins here in the ACT and maintains its head office in Belconnen, in my electorate of Ginninderra.
Heart Support-Australia’s beginnings date back to 1986, when Canberran Mr Max Nancarrow found himself struggling after a heart bypass operation. At his six-week check-up, Mr Nancarrow was told by the doctor that he was okay to go home and carry on with his life. He did not feel okay, though, and he struggled to cope with everyday life. More importantly, he had nobody to talk to that understood what living with a heart condition was really like.
The stress of having no support created additional trauma, not just for Mr Nancarrow but also for his family members. To fill this void, he and a few others facing the same problem eventually formed three support groups, one here in the ACT, one in Batemans Bay and one in Brisbane, originally called the Australian Cardiacs Association.
The Australian Cardiacs Association changed its name to Heart Support-Australia in 1997 to better reflect the role of the organisation and its focus. Branches of HSA can now be found in every Australian state and territory, where it pursues its mission to minimise the psychosocial and physical impacts of heart conditions on Australian families by providing lifelong social support encouragement by peers, role models and helpers alike. HSA also provides information (including an online resource library), and has established rehabilitation initiatives for cardiac sufferers at various stages of their condition.
HSA relies heavily on donations and volunteers to accomplish all this good work, and it has been the recipient of support from not-for-profit organisation SHOUT, another locally grown charitable organisation, for more than 15 years now.
I am proud of people like Mr Nancarrow who have the courage and the initiative to turn personal difficulties into something good, in this case making sure that other Australians will never have to face the lack of support that he endured, and I am equally proud of SHOUT, which for more than 35 years has provided self-help and support groups in the ACT with crucial support services. Many of these groups, like Heart Support-Australia, are small community organisations managed by volunteers that provide a lifeline to people with health conditions.
Thank you, Heart Support-Australia, for all that you do. It is my sincere wish that you will be able to serve people for many years to come.