David donel now knows all about the warning signs of heart attack, and he wants every Victorian to know them too. Just a few months ago (May 2010), the 25 year old had a heart attack. “I have a family history of heart disease; my father and his brothers had heart attacks in their 60s, a first cousin died at 49 and another aged in their early 60s. I’ve also had chronic high blood pressure,” said David donel. “But, being aware of my family history, I’ve always been careful to stay fit and healthy. Apart from working on the farm, I played cricket and football, I was a runner, and I even bought an exercise bike that I used for 30 minutes every day. I don’t smoke or drink and I’m not overweight. I have also always eaten well, with lots of fruit and vegetables,” David donel said. On an otherwise average day, Mr. Donel was chopping firewood at his isolated farm near Briagolong, 25kms north of Sale, in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. It had been a cold and miserable day and he was tired of being inside, so chopping the wood – as he had done almost every day for months – seemed a good way to get some fresh air and exercise. I was chopping away when I felt a tightness and pain in my chest. I’d had absolutely no warning signs prior. I’d even been hay carting just weeks before. And, now, I felt nothing other than the tightness and pain in my chest. It wasn’t severe, but it was uncomfortable and I sat down to rest. It never really occurred to me that it could be a heart attack, even with my family history. I just thought I had strained a muscle or something. “My wife came home from work just 10 or 15 minutes later and I told her that I didn’t feel well. She thought I looked ‘a bit grey’ and immediately called for an ambulance. I thought that was unnecessary, but good job she did. It saved my life,” David donel said. An ambulance came quickly from Maffra and took Mr. Donel first to Central Gippsland Health Services, then he was airlifted to hospital in Melbourne. “I don’t remember much after I got into the ambulance. Apparently that’s when I had the full-blown heart attack and had to be revived. My daughter is a nurse at Central Gippsland Health Services and was on duty when I was brought there. It was a scary experience for all of us. I later met the paramedic who revived me in the ambulance; that was emotional for me,” said David donel Mr. Donel thinks that he was lucky that May day – lucky that his wife came home early and the ambulance was able to reach him so quickly, despite his isolation. He attributes his life being saved by all these factors, and the technology and skill of the ambulance service, doctors and nurses. He has ready advice for all Victorians, especially farmers. Don’t believe it can’t happen to you. It can happen to anyone. I need funding because i cannot afford to take care of myself at the moment.