four people standing together, one a nurse and one a doctor. The other two older men are volunteers.

Heart Support and Heart Health NSW volunteers Mike Storrier and Max Heslehurst with Cardiac Rehabilitation Coordinator Jannie Denyer and Director of Cardiology Dr Chris Alexopoulos who are grateful for the pair’s many years of service.

Heart-felt thanks to Mike and Max

Feb 14, 2023
This article was published 1 year ago.

Two founding members of Port Macquarie-Hastings branch of Heart Support Australia are retiring from their volunteer work at Port Macquarie Base Hospital, having helped hundreds of cardiac patients along the road to recovery.

Mike Storrier and Max Heslehurst are familiar faces in the Coronary Care Unit and will be missed, said PMBH’s Director of Cardiology, Dr Chris Alexopoulos.

Both men were initially cardiac patients at the hospital, and on their recovery lobbied hospital management, with the support of Nurse Unit Managers, to visit heart patients to help encourage them along their rehabilitation and recovery journey.

Dr Alexopoulos said it was impossible to place a value on the work of the heart volunteers, their buddy system of supporting cardiac patients and carers, as well as their fundraising over the past 13 years.

“I want to thank them both for their amazing work because without the support of the volunteers, we can’t achieve what we need for our patients,” Dr Alexopoulos said.

PMBH’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Coordinator Jannie Denyer said she would miss the pair who instigated visitations to the Coronary Care Unit back in February 2010.

“Max especially kept on being present, getting to know those in all areas of the hospital and helping to initiate Heart Support in the Hastings,” Ms Denyer said.

“He truly believed he could a make a difference to a cardiac patient’s journey, initially focusing on carer support for those patients transferred to Sydney for treatment.

“They provided information about accommodation, transport and rehabilitation.

“When the local Heart Support branch became Heart Health NSW, Mike and Max remained at the forefront of hospital visitations right up until COVID restrictions were introduced across all hospitals in NSW.

“Mike and Max have certainly made a difference over the years, and they will be missed.”

Mr Storrier said it had been a privilege to volunteer at the hospital.

“We didn’t always know the impact we had on patients, but we did know they were happy to see us because we talk ‘people talk’, not ‘medical talk’,” the 82-year-old said.

“When we came into a room, we gave a face to recovery and rehabilitation. We had experienced what the patient was experiencing, and we could show them they could get back to where they were.”

For Mr Heslehurst, who is 88 this month, volunteering in the cardiac unit also had benefits for the volunteer.

“I have to say, becoming a Heart Support volunteer changed my life. It gave me something to do while helping others,” Mr Heslehurst said.

“I’m disappointed to be leaving but enormously proud we played our part in making the hospital a better place for cardiac patients.”

Heart Support branch donations to PMBH over the years have included a $36,000 outdoor gymnasium, staff training opportunities, waiting room furniture, blood pressure monitor and weight chair, shade sails, patient information boards, and the walking track at the rear of the hospital.

For more photos of Mike and Max, please click on the image below and scroll through the library.


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