I am
Show me:
Show me:
At the heart of Mother’s Day
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

At the heart of Mother’s Day

Three people living with heart disease share how their Mums helped them face their health challenges.

Mother’s Day 2020 is unlike any other we have celebrated. Australia is still experiencing COVID-19 lockdowns, and many of us will be catching up with our mums on Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Zoom.

Here are the stories of three people living with heart disease or a heart condition. Read more to discover how their mums helped them face their health challenges, and what it's like to be apart on Mother's Day.

Mum is at the heart of it all.

Claude Lam, 42


As Mother’s Day approaches, and we continue to live through COVID-19, the day takes on extra special meaning for me.

I’ve been “socially distancing” from my mum and dad for over more than two and a half months; they are in their 80s. Now we video chat more often than before, but I miss them dearly. I’m looking forward to plenty of future hugs!

After my heart operation, next to my wife, my mum was my biggest supporter. The operation had taken a big physical and mental toll on me. After two days, I found myself calling my mum for help. That same day, she was at my doorstep, ready to help and support in any way possible.

Mum ended up moving in and living with us for the next five to six weeks; that definitely wasn’t planned! I’d say my recovery was such a success because of my mum: without her I don’t know how long my road to recovery would have taken.

Mums just have that innate, instinctual ability to make you feel loved; they always know what comforts you and builds you up.

My mum took care of the basics, like food and housework. My fondest memories are of mum tending to my wounds and helping me to put clothes on, especially on days when I was drained of energy.

I’m so grateful for my mum! God bless her and all mums on this special day. There will lots of virtual Mother's Day celebrations this year; I look forward to catching up on the lost time together when life returns to some normality!

Marcus Ashford, 38



Mother's Day 2019 was such a special day for me! On that day, I had my mother, and she had me.

The day was only a month after my open-heart surgery, and two months since my heart attack. Having a heart attack was the biggest shock of my life; I was only 36 years old when it happened. While recovering, I was living back at home. I felt like a child again, getting all the extra care from my mother.

Mum was first to come into the hospital after my initial heart attack; when I first saw my mum, I burst into tears. She did too. What an emotional day!

Months into my recovery, I knew that I wouldn't have been able to get through it all without my mum; I realised how lucky I am to have her. All her home cooking took me back to my childhood.

I don’t have a partner, I needed all the help I could get; it was a struggle getting out of bed, cooking dinner, showering.

Thanks for all your help mum! I love you so much and wish you so many happy Mother’s Days to come.

And, yes, it’s true: my whites have never been whiter.

Melanie Annette, 34


My mum has been a great support my whole life; she still is to this day. Mum is always there, helping to look after my 18-month-old son or cooking a delicious family dinner. She’s always there for her four children.

In 2012 I had open heart surgery. Less than a year earlier, I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect. As you can imagine, this was a big shock; I was in my mid-twenties and had no history of heart disease. The news was hard on my mum, but she was my pillar of strength through it all; she was with me at all my appointments, MRIs, echocardiograms. If I had a cardiac test, she was there by my side.

Mum knew that I was scared of what was ahead, and she was there for me when I needed it most. I will never forget the love and strength she gave me on the day of my open-heart surgery; she was positive and supportive, even though I know she was just as terrified herself.

After my surgery, I had a tough recovery. I woke up in intensive care with severe pleuritic pain (sudden sharp and intense chest pain when breathing), which I have continued to have on and off for the last eight years.

In recovery, my mum and husband were my greatest strength. Mum would spend all day in the hospital with me, getting there at 7:00 am and leaving around 10:00 pm. She brought home-cooked meals, took me for walks around the cardiac ward and told me that everything was going to be okay.
Recovering from heart surgery is not only physical, it takes a toll on your emotional health too. I had my days where I felt down and overwhelmed; I burst into tears. I’m so grateful that my mum was there to give me a hug, to talk to me and reassure me that I would be feeling much better soon.

Mum moved into our house and helped to take the pressure off; she helped by doing housework and cooking hearty meals. Her cooking felt so comforting and was exactly what I needed. Mum helped to change my dressings, and she reminded me to take my medications.

My mum has given me so much over the years. I can’t thank her enough for all her love and support. As I am in the vulnerable group with COVID-19, mum has continued to help me, bringing me shopping and essentials.

This Mother’s Day I hope all the mums out there have a happy day; even though it may feel a little different this year with lots of virtual catch-ups, I hope you feel very loved and special. There is nothing like a mother’s love. Happy Mother’s Day, mum! Thank you for being you.

Claude, Marcus and Mel are all members of our Supporting Young Hearts program which works with younger people, aged 18 to 40 years, who are living with a heart condition or recovering from heart surgery​.

You might also be interested in

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Heart stories

Heart stories

Heart stories

Stories of hope from Australian men and women fighting heart disease....

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril suffered a heart attack in 2015. Cardiac rehab helped get his life back on track. ...

Daniel's cardiac arrest helped him discover another problem

Daniel's cardiac arrest helped him discover another problem

Daniel's cardiac arrest helped him discover another problem

Dan was six minutes into his treadmill session when his heart stopped beating....

David’s shock heart failure diagnosis was just the start of a tough journey

David’s shock heart failure diagnosis was just the start of a tough journey

David’s shock heart failure diagnosis was just the start of a tough journey

David's heart failure diagnosis led to significant changes in his life....

Debbie's heart story

Debbie's heart story

Debbie's heart story

Debbie decided to give cardiac rehab a go and hasn’t looked back since. ...

Exercising for heart and soul

Exercising for heart and soul

Exercising for heart and soul

Alicia Philipatos was three days old when her heart condition was diagnosed...

Gary's heart story

Gary's heart story

Gary's heart story

Gary's heart attack came without warning....

Gerry had heart attack warning signs on his dream holiday.

Gerry had heart attack warning signs on his dream holiday.

Gerry had heart attack warning signs on his dream holiday.

I’d always thought of myself as fairly fit; I swam a lot, and did ‘soft running’, a combination of running and walking. ...

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Meditation helped Grant recover from his heart attack

Thankfully for Grant Byrne, a lifelong Led Zeppelin fan, some quick thinking helped him avoid a stairway to heaven. Read Grant’s heart attack story now. ...

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

David reflects on how his life changed when he had a heart attack at 35 and how he got back on track....

Helen's heart story

Helen's heart story

Helen's heart story

It wasn’t until Helen's second heart attack that she realised the importance of exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet....

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

How a pacemaker at 34 saved my life

Kim shares the emotional and physical upheaval experienced on her journey to diagnosis and recovery....

I’m a mum and I survived a heart attack

I’m a mum and I survived a heart attack

I’m a mum and I survived a heart attack

Nicola, mum of 2, shares her heart attack recovery story....

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Ian “did not hesitate” to leave 100% of his estate to the Heart Foundation....

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

The one that took Jan’s breath away

Open heart surgery to treat damaged heart valves has improved Jan's overall health....

Jo's heart story

Jo's heart story

Jo's heart story

Joanne had five stents inserted into her heart in her early forties. Fifteen years later she had a triple bypass....

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Kate wanted to find a way she could make a difference to future generations...

Learning that heart disease can strike at any age

Learning that heart disease can strike at any age

Learning that heart disease can strike at any age

Living life on my terms as a young adult with heart disease

Living life on my terms as a young adult with heart disease

Living life on my terms as a young adult with heart disease

Lea was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at 24. She shares her story of recovery....

Love mends broken hearts on Valentine’s Day

Love mends broken hearts on Valentine’s Day

Love mends broken hearts on Valentine’s Day

Today, Cupid is busy slinging arrows. Perhaps, you are frantic buying flowers or chocolates, booking dinner or penning a pitter-patter inducing poem....

Margaret's heart story

Margaret's heart story

Margaret's heart story

Margaret was young, fit and otherwise healthy but suffered a major heart attack that could have devastated her life...

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

At first, it didn’t cross my mind it could be something serious. ...

My role as a cardiac nurse

My role as a cardiac nurse

My role as a cardiac nurse

Michelle shares her experiences working as a cardiac nurse at the Royal Melbourne Hospital....

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm discovered he was at risk of a major heart attack just in the nick of time

Norm didn’t worry too much about his cholesterol problem – until an angiogram revealed he had an 80 per cent blockage in a major heart artery. ...

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter is breathing easy again after heart valve surgery

Peter has lived with a rare heart condition since he was 14, but hadn’t given it too much thought until his 30s....

Peter's heart story

Peter's heart story

Peter's heart story

After his heart attack Peter felt incredibly demoralised....

Sharing scars, and more, on Valentine’s Day

Sharing scars, and more, on Valentine’s Day

Sharing scars, and more, on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day; some people celebrate, other’s vehemently oppose it. Whatever your opinion, it’s important to remember that the day is about love. All forms of it....

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy – Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack

Fit, active and healthy, Sharon wasn’t expecting a heart attack. However, after experiencing a ‘widow maker’, she counts herself lucky....

Three young people living with heart disease share how they are dealing with COVID-19

Three young people living with heart disease share how they are dealing with COVID-19

Three young people living with heart disease share how they are dealing with COVID-19

Rachel, Angela and Lea are all young and living with heart conditions. ...

Two stories at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic

Two stories at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic

Two stories at the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic

Savannah and Gerry, two Australians living with heart disease share their COVID-19 stories....

Warren's heart story

Warren's heart story

Warren's heart story

Warren suffered a heart attack while on a skiing holiday in Thredbo....

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease....

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

What is a healthy body weight?

Find out what a healthy body weight is and the steps you can take to achieve it. ...

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Get started with more physical activity

Finding time for physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your heart...

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Discover our Annual reports from 2013 onwards. ...

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

Maryanne was shocked to find she had a hidden heart problem

At first, it didn’t cross my mind it could be something serious. ...

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Vegetarian recipes

Search through our vegetarian recipes...

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Key Statistics: Heart attack

Key Statistics: Heart attack

Raffles & Lotteries

Raffles & Lotteries

Raffles & Lotteries

Give yourself a chance to win $20,000 while helping the Heart Foundation to raise essential funds for heart research....

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Dairy and your heart health

Not all dairy products are equal. Discover different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health....

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Hypertension clinical information and guidelines

Clinical information for diagnosis and management of hypertension....

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Support after a heart attack

Many different thoughts may go through your head after a heart attack and you may be presented with complicated medical info. Know where to get support. ...

CVD and COVID-19 Grant

CVD and COVID-19 Grant

Grants to support ground-breaking research focused on COVID-19 and its interaction with heart conditions....

Key Statistics: Risk factors for heart disease

Key Statistics: Risk factors for heart disease

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

Stay informed about COVID-19

If you have heart disease, you are more vulnerable to severe complications....

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...

MyMarathon Insights Survey 2020 Terms and Conditions

MyMarathon Insights Survey 2020 Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions...

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Cook with Heart

Join the Cook with Heart Challenge as seen on Channel 7...

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....

Heart health information in your language

Heart health information in your language

A selection of heart health information brochures in a range languages...