When Chris Marsh looks back at April 4 this year, he can see he had all the warning signs of a heart attack.

He was more puffed than usual after playing 18 holes of golf. But he attributed that to not playing for a while due to COVID.

He was more worn out than usual after playing with his grandkids the day before.

He had tingly feet. He was sweaty. He had pain in his chest and shoulders. He felt “pressure” on his chest. He had pins and needles.

Now Mr Marsh knows, after having four stents inserted in his coronary arteries, he dodged a bullet.

“Getting those stents put in by Dr Ram Saireddy was just surreal. I was in the theatre looking at my heart on a big screen. I’m so grateful for what he and the team did for me,” the well-known real estate agent said.

“I’ve got way more energy, my complexion is better, I can’t believe the difference in how I feel now,” Mr Marsh said.

“It’s ironic too because one of our staff has ridden in the Cardiac Challenge for five years including this year so the fundraising that Linda has done, has probably provided equipment that helped save my life,” Mr Marsh said.

QSuper Cardiac Challenge rider Linda Adams said she always knew that fundraising in the event made a difference to people, but personally knowing someone whose life was saved made it so much more tangible.

“It actually makes me want to keep doing it for as long as I can because technology is always changing and the unit will always need the latest equipment for people to have treatment here, rather than going away to Townsville or Brisbane.

Cairns Hospital interventional cardiologist Dr Ram Saireddy said Mr Marsh had typical symptoms of a heart attack, and in his case blocked blood vessel, supplying oxygen to the heart. In some patients this can manifest as heart burn or heaviness in the arms. Other atypical symptoms occur too.  Opening the blocked blood vessel in the first couple of hours gives the best long-term result.

“The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the addition of new cath labs and cardiac services to Cairns to help achieve patient outcomes for people like Mr Marsh,” Dr Saireddy said.

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation Fundraising & Marketing Manager Glenys Duncombe said organisers often heard of stories like Mr Marsh’s which was a huge incentive to keep working to make a difference.

  • The QSuper Cardiac Challenge is an annual fundraising bike ride from Cairns to Cooktown, hosted by the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. 2020 will be the 14th time the Cardiac Challenge bike ride has been held, with more than $4 million raised for cardiac services by the Foundation, in that time. Funds raised this year will go towards a cardiac ultrasound device and a specialised anaesthetic device for the new cardiac electrophysiology service.