Aunty Helenor Rassip from Innisfail A chance meeting keeps Aunty Helenor on her feet

Aunty Helenor Rassip from Innisfail had a chance meeting in Caboolture with the Deadly Feet program, leading to an important intervention and positive outcome for her long-term health.

After experiencing numbness and tingling in her feet for months, Aunty Helenor’s brother noticed the Metro North Health Better Together Health Van and Deadly Feet team at a community event and encouraged her to get her feet checked.

The Deadly Feet program is a co-designed multidisciplinary outreach model improving clinical pathways and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with foot disease through early detection of disease, implementation of risk modification plans and treatment of foot conditions. This is achieved by delivering podiatry, vascular sonography, and vascular specialist services to patients in a culturally appropriate manner, closer to home and with the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce.

“It was just by chance; my brother and I were walking through the lakes in Caboolture, and they had the van set-up. I asked them about the program and told them about my situation with my feet. The girls made an appointment for me, and they all worked really well on my feet,” Aunty Helenor said.

After that initial chance meeting, Aunty Helenor got the care she needed with surgery booked at The Prince Charles Hospital that week. Now she returns to Brisbane for regular check-ups as she recovers.

Deadly Feet Project Lead Annette Redhead said the opportunity to meet Aunty Helenor in the community highlighted the importance of meeting community members where they are already engaging and feel comfortable.

“The symptoms Aunty Helenor was describing was peripheral vascular disease. Once I flagged this to our vascular surgeon to describe the symptoms, we escalated her care,” Annette said.

“The doctor informed if Aunty Helenor’s disease didn’t have any intervention, she would have been looking at a below the knee amputation within the next six months.

“It highlights the intervention and timely access Aunty Helenor had to advanced vascular sonography, podiatry and a vascular surgeon reviewing her symptoms.”

Aunty Helenor is extremely grateful for the care she received from the Deadly Feet Program and encouraged others to keep check of their feet and legs.

“To the community and our Elders if there is something wrong with your feet or your legs get and see about it. That’s what this program’s all about, for your own benefit and your own health. Your health is your wealth!” said Aunty Helenor.

You can watch Aunty Helenor’s full story here:

The Deadly Feet program is currently available across Brisbane northside, with clinics being delivered from Redcliffe Hospital and Caboolture Moreton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (MATSICHS) monthly to ensure ease of access and care closer to home for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

With the successful launch of the program across Brisbane northside, Deadly Feet recently will be expanding to other regions across Queensland. For more information about the program, or to check if you’re eligible to be seen by the Deadly Feet team visit

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