Maddison Mellow’s past, present and future have been shaped by heartbreak — quite literally.

The 22-year-old researcher is devoting her personal and professional life to raising awareness of heart and general health, after a trio of real life tragedy and drama.

She was just eight – her siblings 14, 12 and six – when she lost her beloved dad Mick from sudden cardiac arrest at the unimaginably young age of 37. “Dad was a happy-go-lucky, sporty, hard-working man who loved his family, friends and community to bits – he was an absolute larrikin,” she recalls.

“(For him), there was no warning at all, he was laying at home on the couch and suffered a heart attack. Sudden cardiac death is super hard to screen for … Dad presented with none of the signs and symptoms of heart attack. It was completely out of the blue.”

A further blow came in 2011 when a “dear” childhood pal born with a congenital heart disease died, aged 12. “It was gut-wrenching time for our family, friends and the wider community,” she says.

Then in 2012, her mum Corinne, who was 48 at the time, underwent emergency, lifesaving open heart and double bypass surgery.

Today, Maddison, who recently completed a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours in Cognitive Neuroscience, is researching the benefits of exercise on brain health. She’s also spreading the message of heart health.

“The biggest misconception about heart disease is that it only happens in old people, or people who are visibly unhealthy,” she says.

“I always try to encourage my family and friends to have regular heart check-ups – it’s as simple as going to your GP for 30 minutes. My motto is, it’s never too early to start thinking about heart health.”


With the horrific cost of heart disease laid bare and News Corp Australia and the Heart Foundation demanding action, there are two important things you can do.

Firstly, visit the Heart Foundation website and use the online Heart Age Calculator. It takes less than two minutes — and is a great starting point to test the state of your own ticker, giving you the “age” of your heart compared to your actual age. Just follow the link below.

Secondly, join the #SHOWSOMETICKER surge on social media.

You can broadcast your heart age result; show photos of yourself and the family doing heart-healthy activities (dog walking appears to be a favourite!) and enjoying good food; and share recipes, tips and more.

Even better, help us pressure the government and your local MP for lifesaving for life-saving ing actionon the Charter of Points.

Use Twitter, Facebook or your favourite platform to make your feelings felt — and remember, always use the hashtag #showsometicker. Let’s make a difference together.