Two Brisbane mums Rebecca East and Keely Mancini are the heart and soul behind Girls Got Heart, a charity supporting health services in rural and regional Queensland. Rebecca and Keely combined their passion for cycling and well-being with a desire to do their bit for rural Queenslanders and came up with the idea of the ‘Ride with Heart’ endurance ride.
Although city girls themselves Rebecca and Keely have created ties to the country throughout their lives. Keely, a mother of two and wife to a country boy has always integrated her love of fitness and exercise with her professional career. Mancini has worked as a professional Pilates Instructor for the last 20 years and is also part of the Education Team for Polestar Pilates Australia. Mancini’s love of fitness and desire to raise money for an important cause such as healthcare in rural communities is what drives her passion for GGH.
Originally from London, Keely’s first experience with country life was when she met her husband’s family in Longreach and realised a strong sense of community. “Everyone comes together to support each other in times of celebration, and in times of despair, which unfortunately has been the most prominent in recent times,” says Mancini. “It struck me that life in the country is hard, isolating, and many things are dependent on factors that are simply out of our control.”
Rebecca and her family travel out to Uralla, a property about four hours west of Brisbane in Meandarra, every Easter. It was on one of these trips that East first heard the story about Graham Bridle; a good friend, neighbour and valuable community member and volunteer who tragically lost his life to a heart attack. As more stories were heard, East felt disbelief that these things were happening to people so young, vibrant and loved. “I started to understand how health issues are tragically frequently undiagnosed in country communities. Farmers being too busy or not being able to leave the farm to get into town to have routine health checks is an all too common theme,” says East.
This year, the girls are back in the game again, taking a peloton of 40 female riders on an endurance ride and raising money for our farmers, who need our help now more than ever.
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