Tjapukai Chief Executive Officer Greg Erwin is hoping to inspire his staff to exercise regularly when he joins more than 260 riders leaving Tjapukai on September 19 for the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.The annual 330 kilometre Cairns to Cooktown ride is held over three days to raise funds for cardiac services at Cairns Hospital in Tropical North Queensland with more than $2 million raised over the past eight events.
Mr Erwin said encouraging Indigenous people to exercise was integral to closing the gap on Indigenous health.
“I will be cycling in the event in the hope of inspiring Tjapukai’s staff, of whom 70 per cent are Indigenous, to get active,” he said.
“Just this year the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing Indigenous Observatory reported that cardiovascular disease was the most common cause of death among Indigenous Australians, accounting for 25 per cent of deaths.
“Indigenous people die from this condition at 1.5 times the rate of non-Indigenous people and almost one-quarter of the mortality gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is a result of this disease.
“Given these statistics I think the Cardiac Challenge is a great opportunity for Tjapukai to raise awareness of cardiac disease and create some much needed change as part of our commitment to closing the gap.
“Indigenous Australians are the custodians of the world’s oldest living culture and Tjapukai is committed to keeping that culture alive for future generations.”
Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation fundraising and marketing manager Glenys Duncombe said she was thrilled to see a broad cross section of the community embracing the Mount Franklin Cardiac Challenge.
“People from all walks of life develop heart conditions and it’s important to acknowledge the very important role that Tjapukai is taking this year,” Ms Duncombe said.
“Not only is the ride starting from Tjapukai this year, but their CEO Greg is jumping on his bike for a good cause as well.
“Greg’s a keen cyclist so it’s awesome to see him being such a great role model for his staff and the wider community,” she said.