WITH a family background of heart disease, Michael Gallagher is determined not to be another statistic.
He walks or rides two to four kilometres daily, keeps a watch on his weight, doesn’t smoke, drinks socially and has regular health checks.
“My late father did all the right things, except he smoked,” Mr Gallagher said.
While he survived a heart attack at 66, his father died 12 months later from a third attack.
“It surprised a lot of people. He played lawn bowls and won the Ballarat Singles Championship, he played golf off a single figure handicap and he once won the Ballarat Tennis Championship.
“If it had have happened today, they would have inserted stents or done a bypass.
“That is why I am more than happy to assist organisations like the Heart Foundation. Raising funds for research helps save lives.”
Mr Gallagher also lost two uncles to heart disease in their 60s but a third uncle who exercised regularly survived into his 80s.
Mr Gallagher had his own health scare several years ago when a fall dislodged plaque in his carotid artery and he suffered a stroke.
Being fit had helped his recovery, with only a week spent in hospital.
He now sees his doctor once every three months and has an annual physician’s check-up.
For the past eight years, he has also been out rattling tins for the Heart Foundation around the Newington area.
“It’s something I feel I can contribute,” he said.