WHEN Dan Elsden went to Brisbane for a cardiac procedure 15 years ago, he bought his family’s Christmas presents early “just in case”.
Then aged 32 and a father of two little girls, the unknown quantity about his relatively simple procedure and having to travel away from his loved ones, was incredibly stressful.
Fast forward to 2019, and people like him with supraventricular tachycardia can have their radio frequency fibrillation procedure, here in Cairns.
Mr Elsden, now aged 46, is about to saddle up and ride in the Mt Franklin Cardiac Challenge for a second time – feeling the need to give back to the service he may one day need again.
“It was pretty scary going to Brisbane for the procedure – they let me have my wife with me, but our children couldn’t come so we had to find carers for them. Going away like that, you have to plan for the worst,” Mr Elsden said.
“My procedure was relatively quick but the fear factor beforehand was pretty bad. It’s pretty special that through the Cardiac Challenge and the electrophysiology services that are opening, that  people won’t have to travel for that anymore,” he said.
“I decided to do the Cardiac Challenge last year because someone said I couldn’t do it. So I signed up eight weeks before – I didn’t even have a bike and I hadn’t ridden for 20 years. And it was eight weeks of hell in training, but doing the ride was absolutely mentally stimulating and uplifting. My wife said she’d never seen me so happy.
“This year my goal is to ride Kuranda Range, which I didn’t do last year. My wife Trish is supporting me this year. My mother Charmian Elsden also has travelled to Brisbane for a cardiac procedure, so we certainly both understand the benefits of trying to keep patients here in Far North Queensland.”
The Cardiac Challenge is hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation and has raised more than $3.1 million in that time.
Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said funds raised this year will go towards a paediatric cardiology ultrasound, a respiratory ultrasound and further cardiac equipment.
The Cardiac Challenge is an annual bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, in its 13th year and has raised more than $3.1 million for cardiac services in that time. It will be held September 21-23, 2019 and donations can be made HERE.