New lease on life

Paul Durdin’s own near death experience has truly given him a new appreciation for life.
The Cairns-based disability support worker became unwell with a mosquito-borne illness several years ago and underwent a battery of tests, at which time it was found the right side of his heart was larger than the left.
Specialists then found he had three holes in his heart AND that instead of two tubes in and two tubes out, he had three tubes on the right side of his heart and one on the left.
This meant that 20 percent of his blood was recirculating and not being reoxygenated as it should have.
Called atrial septo defect with a hole between two atria and abnormal venous drainage, Paul had lived 40 years of his life without knowing.
Just over three years ago, Paul, then aged 41, flew to Brisbane and underwent a complex procedure where an unneeded tube was used to repair the hole.
“I was invited to be part of the catering crew for the Cardiac Challenge last year and I just got so inspired by the stories so I decided this year I’d like to ride,” Mr Durdin said.
He has been riding every day, lost 12 kilograms in the past few months, got up Lake Morris Road and recently rode 110km in one day.
“I never used to have much stamina or endurance. If I exerted myself I’d feel a bit dizzy but to be honest, I feel super privileged. I really do have a new lease on life. Everything in my life is so vivid now. Colours or so vibrant, butterflies are the brightest blue I’ve ever seen, I don’t get stressed about things that don’t matter anymore. Now that I know what stress really is, the other things don’t bother me as much. I’ve changed careers – I used to be in hospitality but now I’m a disability support worker and I’m caring for other people.
“Now I feel like I have a purpose.”
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation CEO Tony Williamson said this year’s event would be slightly different to previous years, but passionate fundraisers were working hard towards their goal.
“We’ve raised more than $135,000 towards our $175,000 goal and I’m confident we’ll get there,” Mr Williamson said.
“With the logistical challenges we’ve faced this year due to COVID-19, having QSuper as our major sponsor is a critical component and it will enable every single dollar raised to go directly to cardiac care in the Far North.”
“There’s been a lot more work in organising this year’s event, but when you hear stories like Paul’s, you know it’s all worthwhile to make a difference to patient outcomes,” she said.
QSuper Chief Executive Officer Michael Pennisi said QSuper is committed to investing in initiatives which create long-term benefits for Queenslanders.
“By supporting the challenge, we’re supporting the improvement of cardiac health and the wellbeing of residents, like Paul, in Far North Queensland.”

About the QSuper Cardiac Challenge
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. This year the ride, from September 19-21, will operate under limited numbers and COVID-safe restrictions. To donate visit www.cardiacchallenge.com.au

About QSuper
QSuper is one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, with more than $110 billion in funds under administration. From humble beginnings more than a century ago, today they manage the retirement savings of more than 585,000 members. More information https://qsuper.qld.gov.au.