TWELVE years ago Alan Morgan suffered his first heart attack. After the incident, he waited four weeks and travelled to Townsville on a bus for the stent to be performed.
Last Friday when he arrived at Cairns Hospital with another heart attack, he was immediately taken to the Cairns Hospital cardiac catheter laboratory for a STEMI procedure.
And he was released to go home on Monday to recuperate.
It was also in 2006 that fellow heart patient Pete McNally first rode to Cooktown to “see if it could be done” before the first Cardiac Challenge was held in 2007.
Since then, the event has raised more than $3.6 million, thousands of people have taken part, and it has bought many pieces of equipment for adult and child heart patients.
“Being in the catheter lab on Friday for my procedure, I was awake and it was like watching a racing team pit crew – they were so efficient and professional at their job. They were just amazing. I’m so grateful that I’m here now because of everything those people do,” Mr Morgan, 62, said.
His cardiologist, Dr Anthony Brazzale, originally from Mutchilba, said Mr Morgan had a great outcome.
“Unfortunately we often meet patients with life threatening heart attacks, suffering a lot of pain, and it’s very rewarding to be able to quickly treat their condition and see their pain ease instantly,” Dr Brazzale said.
“The other amazing fact about Mr Morgan’s heart attack is that 12 years ago there was no cardiac catheter laboratory here – everyone had to go to Townsville or Brisbane for their treatment,” he said.
“Now not only can you have your stent here, but when the second cardiac catheter laboratory is built, we will be able to perform electrophysiology procedures here.”
Dr Brazzale is one of 244 riders in this year’s Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge, riding from Cairns to Cooktown for cardiac services.
For further information or to donate to riders or teams in Cardiac Challenge, visit HERE.

Photo: Cardiac Challenge instigator Pete McNally, Cairns Hospital interventional cardiologist Dr Anthony Brazzale, heart patient Alan Morgan and Cardiac Challenge pack leader Jimmy Chan.