Members of Port Macquarie Base Hospital's cardiac rehabilitation team and the volunteer group Heart Health NSW are mourning the loss of a man who worked for almost two decades in support of cardiac patients and their families.
Robert Edwards was a familiar face at the base hospital, up until a cardiac arrest in 2020 forced him to retire from his advocacy and support work. He passed away on September 30.
Bob, as he was known to friends and hospital staff, was the first president and a foundation member of the Hastings branch of Heart Support, the forerunner to Heart Health NSW.
He and his wife Lyn, who passed away last year, worked tirelessly to raise awareness about heart health and provide support to cardiac patients, and their families, at PMBH.
He served many years on the executive of Heart Support, and then served as president when the support group became a new entity, Heart Health NSW.
The non-profit organisation's volunteers work closely with PMBH's cardiac rehabilitation team, providing one-on-one support to those patients who have experienced a heart event and assist with their rehabilitation.
Cardiac rehabilitation coordinator Jannie Denyer said Bob had been an amazing advocate for cardiac patients since 2006.
"Our entire team is feeling the loss of a man who gave so much to our patients," Ms Denyer said.
"He was a generous man who inspired others to share their rehabilitation experience with our patients so that they could see the recovery path ahead and work towards regaining their independence and their health.
"Bob will always be remembered for what he did for others."
Heart Health NSW secretary Reg Wilkinson, another early member of Heart Support (Hastings branch), paid tribute to his friend.
"It all started with Bob and Lyn holding an information stall on the Town Green," Mr Wilkinson said.
"Those early members included Mike and Cath Storrier, Max and Marilyn Heslehurst and Vic Love.
"Bob also gave freely of his time presenting talks on healthy heart lifestyles, the benefits of automated external defibrillators and the need to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)."
The Heart Health NSW walking groups were another initiative of Heart Support with Bob and Lyn regularly attending the Laurieton walks, despite living in Taree.
The distance didn't deter Bob from participating in PMBH's Rehab and Cardiac Catheter Unit visitation programs, where he was happy to support anyone with a heart issue.
Unfortunately, following his sudden cardiac arrest, Bob spent the past two years in a care home in the Lakes District near Newcastle.
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