Cou­ple all heart

Girl­friend pops ques­tion af­ter health scare

Geelong Advertiser - - TAKE TWO - DANNY LAN­NEN

AF­TER sur­geons op­er­ated to save Chris West’s heart for the third time in 25 years, his part­ner Mel Abra fig­ured she’d bet­ter claim it for life.

AF­TER sur­geons op­er­ated to save Chris West’s heart for the third time in 25 years, his part­ner Mel Abra fig­ured she’d bet­ter claim it for life.

Freshly con­vinced time was noth­ing if not pre­cious, Ms Abra asked for his hand in mar­riage as he re­cu­per­ated i n Royal Mel­bourne Hospi­tal with a new pul­monary valve.

‘‘ See­ing things like this makes you re­alise life’s too short,’’ she said through a beam­ing smile yes­ter­day.

‘‘ Thank­fully, ev­ery­thing went ac­cord­ing to plan, but I just thought, what if it hadn’t?

‘‘I thought, I’m not wait­ing, I just don’t want to spend an­other minute with­out plan­ning to be his wife.’’

Of course, Mr West said yes and now he’s the one wear­ing a ring as they look to many years ahead.

‘ ‘ W e ’ r e en­gaged, we’re look­ing to the fu­ture, build­ing two fam­i­lies and I’ve got the best mis­sus i n the world,’’ he said.

Mel is mum of Wy­att,

‘I thought, I’m not wait­ing, I just don’t want to spend an­other minute with­out plan­ning to be his wife’

– MEL ABRA

4, and Zara, 21 months, and Chris is fa­ther to Rose, 7.

They are both 25, went t o New­comb Sec­ondary Col­lege to­gether and met again by chance about nine months ago.

‘‘It was in­evitable — have you ever met any­one you knew you were just sup­posed to be with?’’ Ms Abra said.

Mr West was born with three heart com­pli­ca­tions — his aorta and pul­monary ar­ter­ies were trans­posed, he had a hole in a ven­tric­u­lar wall and he had a de­fec­tive pul­monary valve.

His ster­num was sawn open for cor­rec­tive surgery for the first time when he was four, again at 16 and now that it’s done again sur­geons have told him he might not need an­other op­er­a­tion for 25 years.

‘‘He would have to be one of the strong­est peo­ple I’ve ever met, so coura­geous and he’s got the big­gest heart,’’ Ms Abra said.

‘‘He keeps on giv­ing, and giv­ing and giv­ing, and just doesn’t let any­thing let him down.’’

Mr West said he was fo­cus­ing on re­cov­ery when she sur­prised him with the pro­posal and tears of joy fol­lowed as the news cir­cu­lated.

‘‘It was the talk of the ward, my girl­friend pro­posed to me,’’ he said.

Friends have hailed the cou­ple’s news as heart- warm­ing af­ter some tough breaks, in­clud­ing the death of Ms Abra’s mum, Wendy Berzan­skis, at 50 due to a brain tu­mour al­most two years ago.

Ms Abra will wear pur­ple for her wed­ding in Novem­ber next year, ac­knowl­edge­ment of her mum’s favourite colour.

Friends hope the cou­ple will be able to re­alise their dreams of a sim­ple gar­den wed­ding.

Photo: MIKE DUG­DALE

ALL HEART: Chris West with Mel Abra, who de­cided to pro­pose af­ter Chris had open-heart surgery.

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