Cause close to heart

Gary Wilmot has lost 30kg since becoming fit and wants to raise $1 million for the Heart Foundation. Picture: Matt Jelonek
Gary Wilmot has lost 30kg since becoming fit and wants to raise $1 million for the Heart Foundation. Picture: Matt Jelonek

Today, he is taking on the biggest challenge of his life, leaving behind his job and his home, to run across Australia in a bid to help fight Australia�s single biggest killer � heart disease.

Heart disease kills one person in Australia every 27 minutes, and Mr Wilmot believes he was not far from becoming another statistic.

He was a heavy smoker and weighed more than 145kg when he decided to turn his life around.

He is 30kg lighter, runs 500km a month and has set himself the mammoth goal of raising $1 million for the National Heart Foundation by running more than 5400km in four months.

Mr Wilmot is promoting a healthier lifestyle for all Australians, and believes that anyone is capable of making a better life.

�If someone had told me just a few years ago that I�d be running 50km a day just because I loved it, I would have laughed in their face,� he said.

�I�ve turned a passion for running into a drive to raise money and I also hope I can do enough to inspire others to get up and get fit.

�I still don�t look like an athlete but that�s the point I�m making.

�You don�t have to look like David Beckham to be fit � it�s the small changes to your lifestyle that make a big difference.

�You just need to get started. If I can do it, anyone can and I hope people along the route look at me and realise that.�

Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said Mr Wilmot�s efforts were remarkable.

�Like Gary, we can reduce our risk of heart and other chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer, by lowering the risk factors including smoking, an unhealthy diet and inactivity,� he said.