New heart peer support group opens in Queanbeyan

Heart Support Australia (HSA) will open their seventh New South Wales Peer Support Group in
Queanbeyan on Thursday 20 July, offering post-heart event support for cardiac patients in the

The HSA Peer Support Groups are unique communal support programs offering ongoing
guidance to those who have recently undergone a heart event as well as those who have
experienced heart conditions and rehabilitation.

HSA CEO, Dr Christian Verdicchio said due to demand the organisation is expanding their Peer
Support Groups across Australia with 30 locations planned to open by March 2024 as “heart
disease continues to dominate the majority of long-term health conditions of all Australians,” he

“A lot of the time there is no ongoing support for heart patients after their diagnosis or after a
heart scare and that can be stressful on not only the individual who suffered the heart event, but
for their family and caregivers as well,” he said.

“Unfortunately, far too often when people are diagnosed with or undergo treatment for a heart
condition, they don’t have ongoing support and that can be incredibly isolating.

“Our support groups are designed to ensure our patients are staying on the path to a healthier
life by making it known to them that they are not alone because they are interacting with their
leader and group members who have gone through similar circumstances,” Christian said.

According to the 2021 Census, 2,053 Australians in the Queanbeyan-Palerang region live with
heart disease, including heart attacks and anigma.

Leading the Queanbeyan Peer Support Group will be John Askew who suffered a myocardial
infarction (heart attack) in late 2016.

“Within three hours of the MI, I was having a stent inserted via keyhole surgery,” John said.
“I spent the next three nights in hospital… and returned to work five days later.

“Although I am fortunate to have not had any problems since, I will need to take medication to
monitor my symptoms for the rest of life,” he said.

The peer support program initiative derives from a new era of managing heart disease that
empowers heart patients with education, improved self-esteem, and larger support networks
that result in fewer hospital stays and less trips to the GP.

“It’s not always easy adjusting to a new lifestyle and that is why I stepped forward to lead the
Queanbeyan group and to help others who are struggling to adjust to their new way of life
following their cardiac event,” John concluded.

The first Queanbeyan Peer Support Group will be held on Thursday 20 July and then the third
Thursday of every month at the Jerrabomberra Community Centre.

To attend the next Queanbeyan session, please get in touch with John on 0400 049 729 or

New heart peer support group opens in Queanbeyan