Geelong local urges others to walk for heart health

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Geelong local Bek Spencer and her family knew all about the single biggest killer of Australian men and women because her mum, Sue had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2002.


But when their beloved father, John (Johno) Spencer died suddenly from a heart attack in 2015, the family thought ‘enough is enough’ and decided to do something about it.

“We had no warning that anything was wrong and were incredibly shocked by Dad’s death. He was fit and enjoyed nothing more than getting out and about walking,” Bek said.

“It was hard for us to understand what happened to him. He loved life and particularly enjoyed spending time with his eight grandchildren.”

“Yet despite our devastating loss, we felt it was important for our family to find a way to honour Dad’s memory while helping support others who may have been touched by this disease,” she said.

In 2016, Bek and her family started a charity walk to celebrate the memory of their Dad while raising awareness and funds for the Heart Foundation.

Since then, Walk for Johno has seen more than 500 people in the Geelong community participate in the walk, raising nearly $37,000 to fight heart disease.

Now in its third year, Walk for Johno will take place from Queenscliff to Eastern Park in Geelong along the picturesque Bellarine Rail Trail on Saturday 24 March 2018.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the ongoing public support for Walk for Johno. Many people have been impacted by heart disease, and by coming together, we are building support and awareness of this issue in the Geelong community,” Bek said.

“I urge anyone touched by this disease to come along and join us in helping raise funds for the Heart Foundation, she added.

Heart Foundation Victoria CEO Kellie-Ann Jolly said it is with the vital support of people like Rebekah and her family that the Heart Foundation’s work can continue.

“Heart disease affect two out of three families in Australia and there is one heart attack every 10 minutes.”

“Through the generosity and commitment of people like Rebekah and the wider Geelong community, we can build awareness, fund crucial research and find ways to prevent, treat and beat heart disease.”

“By taking part in this year’s Walk for Johno, people will be doing something fantastic for their own heart health and helping the hearts of others in their community affected by heart disease,” Ms Jolly said.

Walk for Johno concludes with a picnic and entertainment in Eastern Gardens from 2.00-4.00pm, including a raffle, presentations and some activities for kids.

About Walk for Johno
Walk for Johno is a walk from Queenscliff to Eastern Gardens, Geelong along the Bellarine Rail Trail with six walk options available of varying distances – from the full 37km walk right through to a 3km stroll.
Walk for Johno will take place on Saturday 24 March and starts at the Queenscliff Rail Trail at 7am.

Register or to make a donation here

For more information visit the Walk for Johno website.

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Media contact: Debora McInnes, Media and Campaigns Advisor, 0423 827 697