Cause close to heart
When Nicole Bevilacqua began experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath, she knew something was not right.
It was about three years ago and the young Tatura woman presented at hospital.
‘‘They told me it was a bad cough and then I visited my GP and she told her it was a muscledisorder,’’ Ms Bevilacqua said.
But with a family history of heart disease, Ms Bevilacqua knew something else was wrong.
‘‘I said no I think I should get my heart checked just in case and really pushed for it and then that’s when I got on to my heart specialist,’’ she said.
Eventually, she was diagnosed with a Mitral Valve Prolapse.
‘‘It’s basically when my heart is pumping my valve doesn’t close properly, so the valve is leaking,’’ Ms Bevilacqua said.
‘‘It’s hereditary through my dad’s side; his cousin died from it and my aunty and uncle (her dad’s brother and sister) have been diagnosed and had theirs replaced.’’
While Ms Bevilacqua currently has a minor leak and has annual monitoring and checkups, she said eventually she would be required to have surgery to replace the valve.
But until then Ms Bevilacqua must maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, while also not overdoing it.
After recently travelling to America, she said it prompted her to want tomake a difference.
‘‘I just had a different outlook; I saw a lot of homeless people, so I really wanted to do something,’’ she said.
‘‘I came back feeling a bit more appreciative of life and feeling a bit more humble.’’
She felt it was a sign when the Heart Foundation fundraiser My Marathon kept popping up on her Facebook feed.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to do a charity thing, but I just never knew what and the right time,’’ Ms Bevilacqua said.
She had soon signed up to take part in the initiative where entrants must walk or run the equivalent distance to a marathon (42.2 km) during the course of October.
‘‘I had an initial goal of $700, but I upped it to $2000,’’ she said.
Just a few hundred dollars and a few kilometres off reaching her goal, Ms Bevilacqua said she and her family held a successful fundraiser event in Tatura recently.
‘‘I did a fundraiser recently at my mum’s bakery in Tatura (Tatura Bakery and Lunches),’’ she said.
‘‘We raised $480 that day from a sausage sizzle and people just donating as they walked past.’’
She said it had been great raising awareness and connecting with others who shared similar stories or connections with the Heart Foundation. mymarathon2018.everydayhero .com/au/nicole-bevilacqua