Emma's wedding

Emma's story: Losing her soulmate Jeff to a heart attack

Emma lost her husband Jeff to a heart attack that struck without warning. Now she is determined to stop this heartache from happening to others.

Emma had her 10th wedding anniversary alone.

Jeff holding his son Seb

Emma’s loving husband Jeff died four years ago, leaving behind three children and two stepchildren.

Jeff died on a cold July afternoon from a heart attack when he was in bed with the flu. There was no warning. By the time Emma found him, it was already too late.

“Our little boy Seb was only five when Jeff died,” says Emma. His passing left a huge hole in the lives of those who loved him.

“Jeff always made a point of being there for the family. We created really beautiful memories.”

The gap he leaves will always be unfilled. Emma says she notices it more when she is being a parent, like when Seb is getting an award at school, or finally manages to put his face under the water in the pool.

“With all those little milestones and achievements, you see in your kids, you go to look at your partner to share the moment, but they’re not there.”

Life after Jeff: Preventing future heart attacks

Emma and Seb

“Jeff would want us to keep going, and not just drag ourselves through life but to try enjoy it again.”

Emma now speaks up about heart disease and the importance of getting your own heart checked along with those of your loved ones. She’s shared her story on the radio, in the news, wherever she can.

“Now I’m always telling people to go and get their hearts checked. I don’t want other children to suffer and grow up without their dads.”

Emma was adamant on her dad getting his heart checked. Thankfully, he did because they discovered he had a 97% blockage in one of the arteries. An immediate day surgery saved his life.

What makes Jeff’s death even harder is that a simple day procedure, like the one her dad did could have potentially saved his life, if only he’d had his heart checked.

Researchers at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are now focusing on understanding how to keep our blood vessels healthy, to stop blood vessels narrowing and causing heart attacks and stroke. Research like this could offer a way of detecting and preventing deadly heart attacks.

Please donate to heart research. Help stop heart attacks killing people you love.
Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years