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Heart attack gives new lease on life

Turia Pitt with Woman of Achievement Award winner Nikki Row. – Picture: KATE GLOVERNIKKI Row says having a heart attack was the best day of her life.

It taught her what was important and to make the most of every single day.

There was someone looking down on her when she had the heart attack three-and-a-half years ago at the Brisbane Airport when she was getting ready to board a flight to Mount Isa.

If she had suffered the heart attack 15 minutes later, she would’ve been on the plane and admits she would not be alive to tell her story and take out the Woman of Achievement Award at Saturday night’s International Women’s Day dinner in Mount Isa.

Ms Row calls it a blessing in disguise as she reflects on the day she almost lost her life.

‘‘Having a heart attack was the best day of my life,’’ she said.

‘‘It made me realise what’s important in life and has inspired me to help other people.’’

‘‘Now I make the most of every single day and that’s what other people need to do also.’’

Ms Row was diagnosed with lupus when she was in her early 20s – an auto-immune disease with no cure that attacks the body’s vital organs.

There was a chance of suffering a heart attack from the lupus, but she admits the scare ‘‘came out of the blue’’.

She is employed by the government and works with organisations who deal with vulnerable people.

Ms Row also runs a lupus support group in Mount Isa, along with volunteering as a Cardiac Rehab Support person and runs fitness for younger survivors of heart attacks and heart issues.

‘‘Now I’m doing absolutely everything I can to be healthy, get fit and reduce stress.

‘‘I just want to encourage people that their future is in their own hands,’’ she said.

‘‘Go to the Heart Foundation website and learn about how to get fit and healthy, eat well reduce stress.’’

Hearing Ms Row’s story draws similarities to that of Turia Pitt, the guest speaker at the dinner.

‘‘I could identify with a lot of what Turia’s saying – the struggles of re-learning daily tasks, celebrating the small achievements and believing in yourself,’’ Ms Row said.

The day after her heart attack Ms Row had 30 per cent functionin her heart and it took months of rehabilitation to do even the simplest things in life.

With resilience and commitment, within lessthan a year of the heart attack, she was studying to become a personal trainer and now runs fivefunctional fitness classes a week at the Mount Isa PCYC.

Ms Row is living proof of overcoming adversity.

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