For Dr Lisa Raven, taking part in Coastrek literally makes her job possible! Dr Raven is a Heart Foundation PhD Scholarship recipient and fundraising from Coastrek goes directly towards funding these scholarships to undertake vital life-saving heart research. So when she laced up her hiking boots to trek 30km at Coastrek Sydney 2023 event in March she did so with the knowledge that the $1 million raised will help save the lives of millions of Australians.
The amount of $2,800 – just over the Coastrek team fundraising target – will support a Research Fellow like Dr Raven for one week. Imagine what can be achieved if we reach our $6.5 million fundraising target in 2023.
Dr Raven is an endocrinologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and is undertaking research at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Her current research focuses on the use of a new class of diabetes medicine in preventing complications following heart transplant. Heart transplants are a life-saving operation for heart failure and can improve the quality and length of a person’s life. However, long-term immunosuppressant medicines are needed to prevent rejection of the transplanted heart.
Dr Raven’s study will investigate the potential of a new therapy to prevent the complications associated with these immunosuppressant medicines. If it proves to be effective, it could prolong the life of people receiving heart transplants.
Dr Raven works with Coastrek Ambassador Dr Nikki Bart at St Vincent’s Hospital and trekked as part of the ‘Bart’s Hearts’ team alongside Dr Tom Meredith, a cardiologist and fellow 2022 Heart Foundation PhD Scholarship recipient, and Dr Lauren Brown, an oncologist who has also completed research in oncology related cardiac disease. Dr Bart cheered on from Boston where she is currently continuing her research work at Harvard Medical School on secondment.
Bart’s Hearts enjoyed their first Coastrek experience, walking 30km from North Narrabeen to Balgowlah Heights, and aside from the valuable research dollars, they know the Coastrek and training and event day challenge gives back in many other ways:
“It was so great to dedicate this time to exercise and being able to spend some quality time in the outdoors. The team is passionate about exercise and appreciate the importance of keeping fit for heart health,” says Dr Raven who has completed the New York Marathon, while her colleagues have competed in Ironman events.
“Having an event to train for, particularly as a team, is such a great motivator for regular exercise. Lifestyle factors, such as exercise, are an important part of making sure you and your heart are in the best shape possible.”
In addition to supporting research scholarships, fundraising from Coastrek will support ongoing studies and awareness programs around women’s heart health; initiatives to end Rheumatic Heart Disease in First Nations communities; and the expansion of the Jump Rope for Heart program in Australian schools.