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....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

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 for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

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...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

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. ...

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 Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Making philanthropic investments through the Heart Foundation can transform Australians’ health. ...

My health for life program

My health for life program

My health for life program

The Heart Foundation is a proud supporter of the Queensland My health for life program...

Our strategy

Our strategy

Our strategy

Connecting Hearts Strategy 2021-2023...

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts Podcast

Supporting Young Hearts is a six-episode series interviewing young people with lived experience of heart conditions and talking through advice for supporting emotional health and well-being....

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

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

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Physical activity resources

Resources for health professionals interested in physical activity....

Do you have a Heart Story to share?

Do you have a Heart Story to share?

Do you have a Heart Story to share?

Sharing your story could help another Australian just like you to overcome their heart challenges...

Our history

Our history

Our history

For more than 60 years the Heart Foundation has been helping improve heart health across the nation....

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

WEBINAR | CVD & COVID-19

Ask the experts: caring for people with CVD during COVID-19...

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

Heart procedures and devices

Heart procedures and devices

Heart procedures and devices

If you have a heart condition, your doctor may recommend treatment or procedures...

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

The Heart Foundation Community

We need your opinion, experience and skills to help us improve the heart health of all Australians. ...

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor for heart disease, and 50% have two or more. ...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Staying active for better heart health

Moving more every day is one of the best habits you can have....

CVD risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults

CVD risk assessment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults

This consensus statement contains recommendations for assessing CVD risk in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged under 35....

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....

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Nutrition Evidence Summaries and Reviews

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Heart conditions in women

Like men, women can be diagnosed with a range of heart conditions....