Community partners pound the pavement

Heartbreak Hill is the part of the City2Surf route most runners dread, a steep and punishing hill that never seems to end. Yet, the week before the public event, Jordan Williams ran up and down it 25 times to raise awareness for heart health and funds for cardiac research at St Vincent’s Hospital. His efforts covered 100 kms and over 2,500 metres of elevation. Dubbed Heartbreak 100, Jordan was inspired to take on this epic challenge by his father Warren William’s tenacity battling a cardiac condition.

Warren was a competitive athlete living an extremely healthy lifestyle when he discovered he had atrial fibrillation at a routine check up, and had to be fitted with a precautionary pace maker. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart problem affecting Australians.  It causes the heart to beat out of rhythm – and often too fast. It affects half a million Australians and is a major cause of stroke, heart failure and death.

For 12 years Warren continued to lead an energetic life, founding and running his athletics company, Sydney’s Run Squad. Until one day, on an early morning run, Warren suffered a massive cardiac arrest. Test results showed his left anterior descending artery had collapsed. In surgery he needed stent therapy and was fitted with an implanted defibrillator.

Fully recovered, Warren is now “Up and Running” again, (just like Jordan’s aptly named junior running group) and acts as a Community Champion for St Vincent’s Hospital.

Supporters of Heartbreak 100 raised $43,000, which will go towards St Vincent’s cardiologist Professor Diane Fatkin’s cardiac research at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. Prof Fatkin is leading a research team at the Victor Chang Research Institute, working to uncover the genetic causes of atrial fibrillation by analysing the genes of 150 Australian families with AF. By gaining a deeper understanding of the genetic causes of AF, Prof Fatkin hopes to develop targeted treatment options that will improve individual patient care for this common condition.

St Vincent’s Curran Foundation would like to express our deepest thanks to Jordan and Warren Williams, and the Sweeney family for their generous contribution to Jordan’s fundraiser.

We must also congratulate all the staff and community members who participated in this year’s City2Surf for St Vincent’s Hospitals.  We particularly thank Amber Dixon and her dynamic Dash for Diabetes team, who donned pink for the 3rd year to raise awareness and funds for Type One Diabetes research.

Collectively, our Community runners raised $6,857 to support the endocrinology research of Professor Jerry Greenfield and the upgrade of St Vincent’s Interventional Cardiology suites.