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News Archive: May 2018


Girls Got Heart Annual Fundraiser

Posted on 30th May 2018


On Friday 11 May, the fabulous charity Girls Got Heart held their second annual fundraising luncheon, ‘Hearts on the River’, raising an impressive, and much needed $15,000+ for Heart of Australia.

These funds will go directly into supporting vital specialist medical services that the Heart Trucks deliver to regional Queenslanders every day.

For those unfamiliar with the Girls Got Heart story, in 2017 two everyday Brisbane mums, Rebecca East and Keely Mancini, attended a fundraising event at Scott and Anne-Maree Attwooll’s property ‘Uralla’ in Meandarra, around 360 kilometres west of Brisbane. They organised the event in memory of their friend, Graeme Bridle, who they lost suddenly due to heart failure.
This fantastic event saw 300 guests from far and wide converge in the scorching heat to celebrate a life well lived that ended too soon, and to raise funds for Heart of Australia to expand the reach of its mobile specialist clinic.

For Bec and Keely, the event highlighted the life and death reality that rural and regional individuals and families face every day. But inspired by the spirit of the community and the work that Dr Gomes and the Heart of Australia were doing, Bec and Keely resolved to combine their love for cycling with their desire to make a difference for people in rural Queensland. Girls Got Heart was born.

The inaugural endurance ride in 2017 raised $120,000. These funds have helped fund the building of Heart Truck 3, a new smaller truck currently under construction. This truck will allow us to better respond to high demand peaks and patient overflow, expand the different services we offer, and step up our community engagement program.

On behalf of the entire HoA team, our patients, their families and the regional communities we support we’d like to thank Keely, Rebecca, the 2017 riders & support crew, and everyone who attended the luncheon.
Together, we are changing the health outcomes for people in rural Queensland.



Hockey, hearts and bush people – Roly’s “dream”

Posted on 30th May 2018

Yorkshire lad and now a “fixture” of Heart of Australia and it’s specialist medicine delivery to the Queensland bush, 36-year-old Dr. Roly Hilling-Smith reckons he’s living the dream.

In fact, in conversation he says earnestly that it would be his dream to be always on the road, using his skills in cardiology in the bush where, he says, he’s “constantly touched” by the gratitude of Bush people for the work of Heart of Australia.

But the dream might be a way off yet for the youthful father of three boys – aged five, four and one – who’s “day job” with the Brisbane-based Queensland Cardiology Group keeps him busy with City and Redlands district public and private hospital patients between time each month on the Heart of Australia truck.

Roly says his was not a “medical family” – his father (now retired) and mother (involved in disability learning) and his younger brother – chose careers in teaching. “For me, the sciences, leading me into medicine, seemed my only choice,” Roly says.

After five years of medical school and two years of doctor internship in Edinburgh, Roly says he followed friends to Western Australia where he met his wife, Alison, from Newcastle in NSW, who was in emergency nursing in the same Perth hospital.

After four years in Perth, Roly spent three years in cardiology in Melbourne before relocating to Brisbane.

He heard about Heart of Australia Founder, Dr. Rolf Gomes and his groundbreaking specialist medicine travelling road clinics – “and it all sounded very good”.

Of working with Dr. Gomes, Roly says: “I love it. It’s not the kind of thing someone from Yorkshire would usually experience.”

“It might sound strange, but you can actually help more people in a place like Dalby than you can in city clinics. And … it’s amazing how friendly and how grateful the people are.”

And the Hockey? He found that through English friends and the WA-based Australian Institute of Hockey during his time in Perth and he’s a regular player for Carina-based Easts club in Brisbane.