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AHA Annual Charity Golf Day gets to the heart of the matter

Updated: Feb 7, 2018

Research carried out to help better understand and treat the impacts of heart attack has been given a boost thanks to the Australian Hotel Association (AHA) Newcastle and Hunter Sub-Branch Charity Golf Day.

Also know as the Cliff Lopes Memorial Day, the long-running golf event was held recently at Newcastle Golf Course and attended by 120 golfers.

In total, the day raised more than $10,000 for the Hunter Medical Research Institute, a world-class, not-for-profit medical research centre based in Lambton.

“We chose the Heart Foundation of HMRI as our ongoing recipient back in 2007 after former Crown and Anchor hotelier and close friend of ours Cliff Lopes passed away from a heart attack,” event organiser and former Stockton hotelier Wayne Sampson said.

“He was a keen golfer and we lost him not long after the inaugural charity golf day. That’s when we chose the Heart Foundation of HMRI as our charity recipient for the event.”

Wayne said over the past 10 years the annual golf day has raised a total of close to $70,000 for the organisation.

“We are proud to donate the money to an organisation as worthy as HMRI,” he said.

“It provides invaluable medical research into heart matters and a number of other health issues.”

HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson said as a result of the donations, people throughout the Hunter, and across NSW and the nation, have benefitted immeasurably from research fuelled by AHA-supported pilot grants.

“As an independent institute that relies heavily in community support, HMRI is so appreciative of this,” Proffesor Nilsson said.

“The AHA’s donations go toward supporting projects or equipment purchases with the greatest potential or most critical need.”

According to a spokesperson for HMRI, ongoing support for heart research performed by Professor Andrew Boyle, a clinically trained cardiologist and scientist investigating the regeneration of heart muscle following heart attacks and heart failure, might be one way this year’s funding is put to use.

“In addition to funds raised by the golf day, many of the AHA’s members are also long-term personal donors and generous event attendees,” the spokesperson said.

“For researchers, sustained and reliable financial contributions like the AHA’s are crucial to success, as it often takes years of exhaustive testing and appraisal before new therapies can filter through to the public health system. They use this pilot study data to attract federal funding worth thousands, often millions, of dollars.”

Other disease areas being studied at HMRI vary from stroke, cancer, asthma, diabetes and stillbirth to Multiple Sclerosis and mental health.

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