LOTS OF HEART: Girls Got Heart founders Keely Mancini (left) and Rebecca East with Heart of Australia founder Dr Rolf Gomes at Fitzy's in Toowoomba.
LOTS OF HEART: Girls Got Heart founders Keely Mancini (left) and Rebecca East with Heart of Australia founder Dr Rolf Gomes at Fitzy's in Toowoomba. Amy Lyne

$100,000 to save lives in the bush: You can help

A FEW glasses of wine turned into an idea for two women who are now well on their way to raising more than $100,000 for health services in rural areas.

Girls Got Heart founders, Brisbane women Keely Mancini and Rebecca East, decided to start raising money for heart health in only December after seeing Heart of Australia founder Dr Rolf Gomes speak.

As part of their inaugural fundraising event, Heart of Uralla 2017, six Toowoomba women will join 28 others to cycle 445km from Brisbane to Meandarra, with all funds raised going toward the Heart of Australia's Heart Bus.

"We are raising money for heart health in rural Queensland, for the Heart Bus in particular on this event, so we can get services out to the rural Queenslanders and rural communities that we take for granted in the city," Ms Mancini said.

Ms East said after meeting with Dr Gomes they were introduced to the struggles that rural people had with lack of services and as keen cyclists decided to combine their passions.

Their initial goal was to raise $55,000 but they have already raised $69,000 with the goal to now raise $110,000.

Electrical engineer turned cardiologist Dr Gomes launched Heart of Australia in October 2014, with its mobile cardiology clinic "Heart Bus" travelling about 8000km each month.

Money raised from the bike ride will go toward a second heart bus which Dr Gomes said would be on the road early next year.

"Ultimately the service which Heart of Australia provides helps save lives in the bush," he said.

"These are people who work hard. They often have jobs which makes it difficult to leave and we are bringing the services to the people."

Dr Gomes was brought by the women-only Girls Got Heart members to Toowoomba yesterday for a fundraising lunch and to share his personal story at Fitzy's.

His five-year-old brother was misdiagnosed at a hospital in his home town of Calcutta in India which ultimately contributed to his death. Dr Gomes' family immigrated to Australia when he was 10 and he eventually used his skills to design a mobile diagnostic and testing clinic.

"I think Australians like to support people who are having a go," he said.

Heart of Uralla 2017 will leave Brisbane on August 16 and arrive in Meandarra on August 18.

For more go to girlsgotheart.com.au and heartofaustralia. com.



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