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Leading the charge to raise funds for enhanced cardiac care in their unit, the Cairns Hospital’s
”Cardiac Maniacs” are getting back in the saddle to ride the 333 kilometres from Cairns to Cooktown as part of the QSuper Cardiac Challenge in September.
For consultant cardiologist, Dr Steve Sutcliffe (pictured third from left back row), this ride will mark his 12th year cycling to raise much needed funds for his department – a feat he aims to achieve following the completion of his personal “hill to conquer”, the New York City marathon.
“About four years ago, I realised it was time to practice what I preached to my patients, and to take ownership over my own physical and cardiac health,” Dr Sutcliffe said.
“From there, the marathon has become an item on my bucket list.”
Despite being one of the oldest members of Cardiac Maniacs, Dr Sutcliffe consistently gives his younger peers a run for their money. His love of life and compassion for giving back seen in his dedication to go that extra mile when it comes to the care of his patients.
Annually, the QSuper Cardiac Challenge attracts participants from all walks of life.
From friends and family members who have lost someone to those who’ve experienced cardiac complications themselves, every participant in one way or another has had their lives touched by the important work Dr Sutcliffe and his colleagues do every single day.
“It is always an event that is close to my heart because it is hundreds of people riding for our department, for their families or themselves,” Dr Sutcliffe said.
“Every dollar raised comes directly to the hospital to benefit the patients through a new electrophysiology service, or cath lab, or echo machine.”
Since 2009, Dr Sutcliffe has consistently participated in the challenge, the exception being one year where he volunteered as a motorcycle medic while recovering from an injury.
In his role at the Cairns Hospital, Dr Sutcliffe has seen first-hand the impacts that fundraising has on the quality of healthcare they can provide patients in rural Queensland.
“I recently visited a friend who works in the main hospital in London and saw the machines they were using. Right now, Cairns has better equipment, which says a lot about the outcomes of this challenge for Queenslanders.
“Without the support of the QSuper team at Australian Retirement Trust and their partnership with the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, our equipment and our patient’s health outcomes simply would not be possible.”
In all his years participating in the challenge Dr Sutcliffe shared that he wasn’t always in the best shape, but every year he has completed it.
“The distance can be daunting, but it is doable. Anyone can complete it if they put their mind to it,” he said.
“Before I started my running, there were years I didn’t think I could make it up the hills during the ride. It was so disheartening, but I pushed myself because I knew how important the cause was.
“I would encourage everyone to take part. If riding isn’t your cup of tea, there are other ways to support this event, either through sponsoring a team or volunteering your time. This is an opportunity to give back.”
Our continued partnership of the event enables 100 percent of funds raised to support the purchase of new cardiac care facilities in Far North Queensland.
The QSuper Cardiac Challenge will run from 17-19 September. To find out more about the challenge and how to register visit cardiacchallenge.com.au
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