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Sport & Events

19 September, 2019

Riding to save lives

A trio of locally born medical professionals are making a difference to lives across the region as they get set to saddle up and ride in this weekend’s Cardiac Challenge.

By Rhys Thomas

THE Cardiac Challenge is a return to their stomping ground, for a trio of cardiology specialists at Cairns Hospital.

The trio is Director of Cardiology Dr Greg Starmer, Cairns Hospital cardiac services Nurse Unit Manager Mandi Pashley, and fellow interventional cardiologist Dr Anthony Brazzale.

Dr Starmer is well known as the son of Lex, who worked for the tobacco growers organisation for most of his working life.

Dr Starmer originally planned to return to the Far North as a general practitioner, but when he met his now wife Katrina in Brisbane, he had to stay there for some time in order for her to finish her studies.

“The director of cardiology at the Princess Alexandra Hospital suggested I might have a future in interventional cardiology,” Dr Starmer said.

The rest as they say, is history. He is riding in pack one this year. Mrs Pashley also is passionate about her local community.

Born in Mareeba Hospital and partly raised on Brooklyn Station, she was always the one who “mended” injured family members.

“Probably from when I was little I wanted to look after people and when you live on a cattle property, you have to,” Mrs Pashley said.

She had worked on the cardiac ward at Cairns Hospital since 2001 and has been Nurse Unit Manager since 2018.

“I truly love this ward because we have some amazing patients and when you have a great team, you achieve great things together.”

Mrs Pashley is one of the volunteer medics on this year’s ride.

Dr Brazzale is well known locally as being from the famous Brazzale’s Premium Mangoes family.

Although not riding this year as he is among the team staying in Cairns to help care for patients, Dr Brazzale rode last year and has enjoyed several of this year’s training rides.

Obviously passionate about patient care, Dr Brazzale was led to specialise in cardiology due to family history of heart disease.

He also is part of the newly formed Cardiac Outreach team, travelling through the Far North hosting cardiology clinics.

To support the Cardiac Maniacs fundraising team visit

For further information, to donate or volunteer for the Foundation visit

The 2019 Cardiac Challenge kicks off this Saturday morning from Cairns. The riders will travel up the Kuranda Range and will pass through Mareeba with a stop at Rotary Park for morning tea before riding onto Mt Carbine for the night.

Day two sees the packs ride from Mt Carbine to Lakeland and on day three from Lakeland to Cooktown.

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