Bondi Lifeguard Anthony Carroll (or “Harries” as his mates call him) has seen his fair share of heart attacks on the sand. But he’s also seen it happen to his own family and friends. Now, he’s encouraging others to take heart health more seriously.
“He was one of the lucky ones,” Harries says. He’s talking about his dad Raymond, who survived a heart attack a few years ago. “I knew straight away from the signs and symptoms he was exhibiting that he had had a heart attack. I rushed him to hospital and the doctors performed a triple bypass.”
It’s an all too familiar scenario. On average, 22 people die from a heart attack every day across Australia* and more than 50 thousand people are hospitalised each year because of it**.
“When I see someone having a heart attack, I automatically go into a level of heightened state of alertness,” the veteran lifeguard explains. “I know it’s a matter of split seconds that can make all the difference in preserving human life.” But the 40-year-old dad of 2 hopes it doesn’t have to get to that point.
Being a role model to so many young Aussies, Harries has teamed up with AMCAL Pharmacy and is using his platform to get people thinking about prevention. He’s urging young men especially, to reach out for help when things don’t feel quite right.
“It’s a shame but the mentality of ‘you’ll be right’ has well and truly extended far beyond the meaning of the phrase,” he says. And it seems he’s right – According to a recent health survey***, too many Aussie blokes are reluctant to have a checkup: less than 1 in 5 men would be bothered to take preventative health measures, and that’s only if their partner or children encouraged them to!
Australian cardiologist Dr Warrick Bishop may have some insight as to why this is so: “This may be due to a fear of results, the unknown, or simply health advice not being accessible, but we need to change these perceptions. Once you identify if you’re at risk, you can prevent potential complications.”
So what should we be saying to our mates when they’re obviously not feeling 100 per cent? Harries has it down pat.“How important is your family? GO, get a check up!”
*Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Causes of Death 2016, ABS cat. no. 3303.0, September;**Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2015. Australian hospital statistics 2014–15. Health services series no. 54. Cat. no. HSE 145. Canberra: AIHW.*** AMCAL 2018 Heart Health Survey