At 79 years old, Malcolm Elliott doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon, and thanks to medical advancements, his diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation (AF) in 2012 didn’t impact his passion for volunteering and giving back to the community.
Malcolm believes his AF symptoms began in his mid-40s, when he experienced an irregular heartbeat from time to time but didn’t believe anything was wrong and went on with daily life without further investigating it.
“I was working in Samoa for two years in the 1980s with Australian Volunteers Abroad when I first felt an irregular heartbeat and that continued quite infrequently since,” Malcolm said.
“It wasn’t until 2012 when my daughter, who had been studying medicine at the time, suggested I book in to see a cardiologist and she recommended one of the leading cardiologists in Adelaide, Professor Prashanthan Sanders at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.”
Prof Sanders diagnosed Malcolm with AF and later recommended an ablation – a procedure that corrects heart rhythm by scarring or destroying tissue in the heart that triggers the abnormal heart rhythm.
“If there was more awareness when I first felt the symptoms, I would have had the operation many years ago.”
This is why Malcolm donates to Australian Heart Research (AHR), hoping that further medical advancements will help others with heart disease.
Today, Malcolm continues to give back where he can and is a self-confessed ‘serial volunteer’, donating his time to many different organisations and charities.
“I worked in the fundraising sector for over 20 years and volunteering my time to many worthy causes is my way of helping the community and contributing where I can,” Malcolm said.
“My father also suffered from heart disease but back then there weren’t as many research advancements or breakthroughs as there are today.”
In another way of giving back, Malcolm was also involved in a clinical trial for AF in 2018, led by Dr Adrian Elliott, who is making inroads into heart research.
“Dr Elliott was researching the effect of exercise on AF and since then I’ve kept up an increased fitness level to manage my AF, as well as taking daily medication.”
Thanks to medical advancements, Malcolm can continue living his life to the fullest, giving back to the community.
“I am grateful for this progress which has contributed to my good health and I know without medical research, this would not have been possible.”
AHR is thankful for people like Malcolm, who make it possible for us to continue supporting our dedicated researchers who are fighting to beat heart disease.