Cause close to heart

The Tatura Guardian - - News - By Tara Whitsed Ms Bevilac­qua said there was still a chance to do­nate at

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

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