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Nicole's story

Nicole was 30 years old and 22 weeks pregnant when she started feeling very sick. She was vomiting and having trouble with her vision. In fear, she called her dad, but she passed out while on the phone to him.

When she woke up two weeks later, Nicole’s life had changed forever.

She had suffered a stroke, she was told, caused by a condition called AVM (arteriovenous malformation).

Tragically, while she had been in a coma and on life support, her baby was stillborn.

I couldn’t feel Ned in my bel­ly any­more, but I didn’t know what had hap­pened. That was when my hus­band, Dave, had to tell me that we’d lost him. It was dev­as­tat­ing,” Nicole recalls.

Will you help protect people like Nicole from stroke?

We don’t know why Nicole developed AVM. In fact, there’s so much we don’t know about how cardiovascular disease works. But it’s absolutely essential that we learn. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes strokes and heart attacks, is the biggest killer in our community. It takes lives without mercy – even, indirectly, unborn babies like Ned.

That’s why we are set­ting up Australia’s first-ever Flux­omics Cen­tre focus­ing on heart research, led by Dr Sergey Tumanov, and fea­tured in the Chan­nel 7 News video clip below.

We now have in place a cutting-edge liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer system, which is able to detect the building blocks that make up our cells.

But to help interpret the huge amounts of information we’re able to generate, we need to fund a skilled specialist – a ‘needle-finder’ for this ‘haystack’ of data called a bioinformatics specialist.

The sooner we can fund this important role, the sooner we can take advantage of the amazing potential of fluxomics to transform our understanding of CVD – and save more lives.

Will you donate to help families like Nicole’s be together at Christmas time?

One of our biggest challenges is that every heart is different. The biological processes that drove Nicole’s stroke were unique to her. To help people like Nicole, we need to work towards a personalised approach to treatment.

Your sup­port will help us in our mis­sion to devel­op a per­son­alised approach to car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease – some­thing that’s already hap­pen­ing for dis­eases like can­cer,” Dr Tumanov says.

Our Fluxomics Centre will be ‘ground zero’ for the development of personalised medicine. It is going to rapidly accelerate our understanding of how heart disease progresses in different people. What triggers can we isolate at a molecular level? What red flags are we missing?

Help protect people like Nicole

Every day, families around Australia experience the tragedy of heart-related disease and stroke. And as Nicole and her family know, it leaves physical, mental and emotional scars that can last a lifetime.

Fortunately, Nicole fell pregnant again with another little boy – her “miracle” baby, Gus.

I’m look­ing for­ward to Christ­mas with Gus and Dave and my par­ents. It’s so much more spe­cial when I think of what might have been,” Nicole says.

"I hope you’ll give to support the Heart Research Institute. The research they do today will save lives, tomorrow.”

To help our Fluxomics Centre reach its full potential, we need a team of experts capable of helping us identify the crucial clues we need to unravel the mysteries of the heart.

This Christmas, your greatest gift to the next generation could be supporting the research that finds answers. Your support will fund groundbreaking projects like this and others in the fight against CVD.