Board of Heartbeat Victoria Council Inc.

BARRY NIXON
President

Barry is an active volunteer providing direct peer and social support to Ballarat folk living with cardiac challenges. As a lived experience educator, Barry speaks to new cardiac patients at local cardiac rehabilitation programs.

His message is not to be sedentary and he lives what he teaches by walking with or leading four walking groups weekly.

Barry has been a cardiac patient since 2006. He is retired, with interests in media, communication, and event project management.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

I love being a volunteer with Heartbeat peer support. Heartbeat empowers patients and, by providing association with others living with cardiac challenges, removes fear. I love seeing patients regain confidence and their quality of life improve.

Peer support is good for patients and their hearts.

AMANDA ADAMS
Secretary

Amanda has been a schoolteacher for 17 years, teaching various subjects from sport to science to agriculture.

She has lived in many places, from growing up in Beaufort to Ballarat to Horsham to Shepparton, all the way to the top of the Northern Territory in the remote communities of Wadeye and Humpty Doo, and back to Ballarat.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

I became connected with Heartbeat Ballarat as a result of my mum having a heart attack in 2018 and have found the group to be amazing, with all the support that they have given, not only to my mum, but to our family.

KAREN SACCUZZO
Treasurer

Karen has worked at Goulburn Valley Health (GVH) as the Volunteer Coordinator for a little over 5 years. Prior to that she was employed at Tatura Milk Industries, now known as Bega Cheese, for 19 years, where she held a variety of administration roles.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

In my role at Goulburn Valley Health, I first learned of the Goulburn Valley’s Heartbeat branch’s wonderful services and how valuable its peer support group is, not only for GVH patients, but for the general community.

LINDA MACAULAY
Assistant Treasurer

Linda is currently employed as a Nurse Practitioner Cardiac & Chronic Illness and a Nurse Immuniser. She sees patients in Outpatient clinics such as Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Heart Failure and General Medical. She also provides care to inpatients and works closely with primary care providers. Linda has experience in most aspects of nursing, including critical care, wound care, stroke, surgical & medical, education, advanced life support and management.

Linda’s skills and experience include human resource, project and IT management, customer service, adult education, industrial relations, as a senior public servant, manager, small business owner, teacher, farmer, mother etc. She volunteers as an elder at the Ballarat Central Uniting Church, as President of Heartbeat Victoria – Ballarat Branch, as a committee member of ACRA, and is an active member of several other professional organisations.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

I am passionate about the provision of safe, high quality, evidence-based health care for all, regardless of who or where they are in Australia. For many, an unexpected major illness and their subsequent patient journey is frightening and difficult to reconcile with their everyday life, loves, goals and responsibilities.

Organisations such as Heartbeat can help put the caring back into the patient journey and empower people with the skills, knowledge and support to enable them to lead their best life possible.

MARK BRAYBROOK
Board Member

Mark is currently employed as a storeman at St John of God Healthcare fulfilling hospital orders for the Ballarat, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Geelong, Frankston, and Berwick hospitals. He has previously worked in the logistics industry for 5 years and prior to that worked in the operations departments at various media and communication companies, such as Prime TV, Seven and Ten networks, and Fairfax Media for a total of 18 years. Mr Braybrook has skills in communication, customer service, and advanced IT experience. He has previously volunteered as an elder at Ballarat Central Uniting Church and is currently Treasurer of Heartbeat Victoria – Ballarat branch.

Mark grew up in Ararat, and then moved to Ballarat at a young age when his father transferred jobs. He has lived in Ballarat most of his life but has also worked and lived in both Sydney and Melbourne, Mark has since settled in Ballarat with a partner and daughter.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

Supporting a group like Heartbeat as a volunteer is important to me personally. Many years ago, my grandfather had heart disease resulting in him having open heart surgery, a double bypass operation and some years later had a pacemaker inserted. Since joining as a member of the Heartbeat – Ballarat branch I have found the members to be a friendly and welcoming group of people from all walks of life. I have realised how important it is to have a peer support group in a regional city such as Ballarat. I have learnt so much about heart health and heart conditions, but as a society there is so much more that we can learn about heart health.

ARTHUR FENNELL
Board Member

Arthur worked in the insurance industry for many years, before making a late career change to personal care assistant in aged care and is now retired.

As a person with heart disease, having had a mitral valve replacement in 1980, when he was 37 years old and had a young family, Arthur has been involved with Heartbeat Victoria since its inception in 1984.  He joined the St Vincent’s Hospital Branch and was the inaugural president of Goulburn Valley Branch formed in 1986.

Over the years, Arthur has also held office bearer positions in other community groups and service clubs.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

I still find it gratifying to be able to volunteer to help other people with heart conditions in peer support groups. I also value the information and support I have received over the years from other Heartbeat members, which has contributed to my current ongoing healthy and fulfilling everyday life.

I am pleased to be able to continue to share experiences with new members, knowing the benefits of peer support and all it offers in helping people on their heart health journey.

ROBYN FENNELL
Board Member

Robyn is a retired Registered Nurse with over fifty years’ experience in many areas of the health care sector, including management and training.

Robyn has a long history of volunteering, including School Councils, Cub Scout leader and many community groups, including the CWA.

Robyn was awarded Tatura’s Australia Day “Citizen of the Year Award” in 1999 and the Heart Foundation Victoria “Presidents Award” in 2013.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

Throughout my thirty-five-year association with Heartbeat it has been a rewarding experience to be part of the secondary prevention programs to assist people with heart conditions and their carers, to share knowledge, experiences, and practical help with each other to maximise their health and wellbeing, through peer support activities.

Heartbeat as an organisation cares for all people and their heart health journey in a caring, supportive environment in which I am proud to be part of.

GAIL NEWTON
Board Member

Prior to retiring in 2015, Gail worked in various industries for many years, mainly doing administrative duties.

Gail grew up and went to school in the Northern Territory, leaving there when she married due to her husband’s work. During their working years her family transferred many times, covering several towns over three states where she had the opportunity of meeting many people with a variety of cultural backgrounds.

Over the years she has been a volunteer, as well as holding office bearer positions, on many community groups, sporting and school committeea, including Heartbeat Sunraysia since August 2013.

Gail became involved with Heartbeat some time after her husband had a heart attack and has continued to work with her local branch where she currently holds the positions of Treasurer and Publicity Officer.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

Knowing that I can be of moral support to others after they’ve gone through the trauma of a cardiac episode.  Also assisting in raising funds to purchase cardiac equipment for our hospitals that will benefit both the young and older members of our community.

I look forward to this new challenge of working with others to continue making Heartbeat the great organisation it is today.

KEVIN REID
Board Member

Kevin has a background in dairy farming, also electronics and radio communication.

He previously held a position on a community recreation reserve committee and has also been a member of various farming organisations including, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, the Victorian Farmers Federation, Herd Improvement of Victoria (HIOV) Western Victoria Branch. Kevin also served on the Board of the South Western District Hospital for several years.

Kevin has been an active member of Goulburn Valley Heartbeat and has himself benefitted from the excellent peer support program.

What do you find most rewarding about your association with Heartbeat Victoria?

I find the reward for being associated with Heartbeat Victoria is:

  • the support that we are able to provide to people that are wondering what to expect as they recover various heart related conditions and procedures;
  • the information that is available from Heartbeat; and
  • the ability to meet regularly and associate with other members.