Grieving partner highlights importance of Heart Foundation

Shannon Drew is encouraging men to have a heart check up after her partner Tony O’Connor died earlier this year.
Shannon Drew is encouraging men to have a heart check up after her partner Tony O’Connor died earlier this year. Peter Holt

SHANNON Drew tries not to think about "what if".

She struggles every day not to think what if her partner Tony O'Connor never had a family history of heart disease; had made it to his cardiology appointment and didn't die of a heart attack at work.

It has been three months since Tony, 48, died while on a shift as a supervisor at Daunia Mine 170km south-west of Mackay.

Sitting on the veranda of her Calen home, Ms Drew's green eyes are misty with tears but light up at the thought of him.

"He was well liked and that was shown by how many people came to his funeral," she said.

"He was a joker, a clown, a big kid - he was an amazing guy".

She said Tony was to have visited a cardiologist on his days off from the mine because he wanted to make sure he was around for Ms Drew, but those days off never came.

"That is why I approached the Heart Foundation, because men refuse to go to the doctor.

"Go to the doctor. It doesn't make you weak.

"It can save your life.

"We were going to the doctor and it would have saved his life.

"Don't be proud, just go."

From now until September 15, the annual Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal is on to raise funds to make a difference in the fight against heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Australia, killing one person every 24 minutes.

The couple had been together for more than a year and Tony had a close bond with Ms Drew's son.

"It took me this long to find him and now he is gone," she said.

"I felt like I knew him for 10 years."

Ms Drew said he loved to going down to the creek with her partner for a swim and enjoyed living in the country and listening to Slim Dusty.

"I know how much it tore our little family apart and if doing this will help someone else go to the doctor, it may save a life," she said.

Topics:  fundraising health heart heart attack mackay

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

EXCLUSIVE: Juanes, the Latin heartthrob coming to Bluesfest

ON STAGE: Juanes performs at the 2018 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall on in New York.

He has sold 15 million records and won 20 Latin Grammys

Helping out our Younger Heroes

HEROES: Damien Schofield with some of the attendees at the most recent Younger Heroes camp at Mount Warning

Yonger Heroes score bank award.

These Vampires live on jazz

MUSICIAN: Alex Boneham.

The Australian Music Prize nominated jazz-world band play this week

Local Partners