Your heartHealthy livingFor professionalsResearchHow you can helpAbout us
A painting of supporter Barbara

A century of living well – and an extraordinary gift

Gifts in Wills


A century of living well – and an extraordinary gift

A century of living well – and an extraordinary gift

Barbara almost missed her chance to reach for the remarkable age of 100, after a very close call.

At 81, Barbara was in her bedroom and let out a large cough… the next thing she remembers is waking up on the floor staring at the ceiling. “I went and had a look in the mirror, and I was blue. I rang a neighbour across the road to check on me and when she popped in, she took one look at me and said ‘ambulance’. The hospital rang my family to come and say goodbye – because I was so sick, they thought I was going to die.”

But almost two decades on, Barbara is still going strong, despite a few more hiccups with her heart health that required a pacemaker. From the time she emigrated to Brisbane from Britain in the 1950s, Barbara’s always lived her life as an adventure, and takes it all – even near-death experiences – in her stride. Life highlights include working at the ABC when television was introduced and graduating from university in her 60s. Barbara’s volunteer work as a garden guide after retiring has also given her countless memories to treasure.

“I think the great thing is to keep as busy and occupied as you can. What I love doing best now in the late afternoon is walking half a kilometre to the school in my street. I talk to the people who are walking dogs, and the parents picking up their children from school. Even though I walk with a stick now, it makes me feel really good getting out and looking at the trees and birds.”

Barbara is acutely aware that not everyone is as fortunate as her and survives heart disease to live a long life they love. After her first heart scare, she wanted to pay forward her gratitude for the high-quality care she has received, that would not have been possible without amazing research breakthroughs in her lifetime. The Heart Foundation was front of mind as “they seem to do really good things to help people with heart disease”.

“There is an awful lot the Heart Foundation do to fight heart disease. I think the research really interests me because I had a very good friend who had heart problems much worse than I did from childhood. And she could get a new heart, thanks to research.”

After careful thought, Barbara has also decided the Heart Foundation is the charity she will support well beyond her lifetime with a gift in her Will. “Because of all I’ve been through with my heart, it seems like such a worthwhile thing to do. They have a lot of good things going on – and I've always known the Heart Foundation is there if I need it.”

As this energetic and eloquent woman prepares to celebrate her 100th birthday with those she loves, she turns her thoughts to those in need. Barbara has a dream that through heart disease prevention, detection and support, the gift in her Will could help protect generations of hearts in remote and regional Australia, who might not otherwise get the chance.

“I remember reading about two girls in regional areas who died of heart problems because they couldn’t access treatment soon enough. I think there's so much need in the rural areas, where there can be big barriers to accessing health care.”

“To help these people would be a really great thing to do with this gift in my Will.”

Last updated19 June 2024