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

Grieving partner highlights importance of Heart Foundation

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.


Mullum's big little music festival

Mullum's big little music festival

Its a music fan's dream this weekend in Mullumbimby.

Holiday housing hassle

Holiday housing hassle

Council seeks to control Airbnb in Byron

Doing this while driving will cost you 10 demerit points

Doing this while driving will cost you 10 demerit points

Police will be clamping down on this behaviour that costs lives

Local Partners