Heart Foundation


Jermaine's Story


Aboriginal Health Promotion, Men's Health

Our client says

“Red Hat Films were mindful of cultural sensitivities and protocol and were well received by the Aboriginal community. I found the team to be very professional with a very good understanding of the Heart Foundation’s aims.”
Vicki Wade
Cultural Lead
Heart Foundation

Video Transcript

Lesley King, Jermaine’s mother:
He was a very proud young Yaegl boy. He was very healthy, happy and sporty.

He loved doof doof music. He loved country. All kinda music. He's got me that way I listen to it now.


Dan Randall, Jermaine’s Cousin:
We did everything together. We always tried to keep our culture amongst us.

Either we go fishin' or we go turtle divin' or something like that. Jermaine would always be the first one in the water and always the last to get out.

Brendan Randall, Jermaine’s Cousin:
He had a big heart. He'd take on anything. Yeah he wasn't afraid. He got in there. He had a dig.  He was only young too.  He was only still learning the game you know. He could've been something special.

Aaron Walker, Jermaine’s Cousin:
Him being his age we still looked up to him... because he had a big heart.

It's kinda weird how it happened, ‘cos he had such a big heart.

Lesley King, Jermaine’s mother:
He's not here and I still gotta remind myself this. I still question. Why did it happen to us and such a young healthy, young person, young boy, you know. 

Yeah... and he was my baby. Mmmm.

Dan Randall, Jermaine’s Cousin:
 It hurts. For him no to be around anymore, it does hurt. There was a lot more that I was expecting to do with him as we grew up and grew old.

Brendan Randall, Jermaine’s Cousin:
Yeah after seeing what happened with Jermaine, yeah it could happen to anyone.

I saw it with my nan and pop and I saw it with a lot of my uncles and aunties but, yeah, no-one so young.

Lesley King, Jermaine’s mother:
How it all happened was. I said oh you've got a head cold and he's coughin' and coughin' but not the sneezing what you'd get for a normal head cold, you know.

Coughin' and coughin'  – so I took him to the doctor.

Vicki Wade, Leader National Aboriginal Health Unit, Heart Foundation:

Cardiomyopathy is a heart condition where the heart fails.

Once it starts to fail to pump you get build up of fluid.

People get excess fluid around their lungs so they do coughing.

One of the first symptoms that a person might get is coughing a lot.

As the heart progressively gets weaker and can't pump the fluid goes to the peripheral.  So it will go to your feet, to your arms, to your belly.

Lesley King, Jermaine’s mother:
About middle March he started poppin’ in and out of hospitals.

His heart was dying but his body was still so healthy to look at.

Yeah. I think that tricked us.

He didn't start gettin' knocked around and wobbly until about June, July. Yeah and then after that he started gettin' a bit slow in things in July and then what really knocked him well and truly backwards is that he had a stroke, I think it was in August and blinded his eye.

He said, "No mum I can see." [Laughs] "I can see."

I said, Doctor said you're blind. [Laughs}

"I could see!" It was just still ordinary mum and son conversation.

I was talkin' to people, my friends, and sayin' oh Jermaine, he's got a heart condition. They said, "Aww! They all recover, you know –  modern technology. And I'm there thinkin' the same.  Modern technology. It'll fix. There's going to be something to fix it and make him strong again, it never happened.

And he spent the last two weeks of his life in a hospital bed.  He never did make it back to MacLean.  He left Lismore base on the 2nd of September at lunch time and he passed away the 2nd of September in Sydney.

Mmm. So he never made it home.

Vicki Wade, Leader National Aboriginal Health Unit, Heart Foundation:
Seek medical help if you're worried about anything.

Particularly in the young men who are what I call our young warriors, they are our upcoming leaders. That they actually don't have this too much shame on board. That I'm shame to go to the hospital. I'm shame to seek help.

Aaron Walker, Jermaine’s Cousin:
It's good to go and have that check up.  Go, it's not gonna hurt ya to go get that little check up.

Brendan Randall, Jermaine’s Cousin:
I've sort of picked up on my little visits to the doc. We all like to go and have a bit of fun and what not but, you know, just be aware.

Now I get my health checked regularly.

The thought of him always crosses my mind you know.

The thought of him is never too far away and what he done and what he actually had been through. It does give you the urge to go to the doctor and just go get checked up every now and then even if nothing’s wrong. Even if it's just a little twinge or something.

Lesley King, Jermaine’s mother:
Many times I said to him if I could give you my heart son and you could live on forever. I'd give you my heart.

He was starting to mature into a young gentleman and... yeah, we didn't get to see the young gentleman that we should've had.