NORTHERN Ireland children’s charity Children’s Heartbeat Trust has called on the public to get in the corner of local children who are fighting heart disease and pack a punch against the condition - Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect.
To mark Heart Week Children’s Heartbeat Trust has launched The Big Fight campaign, which sees two local heart kids step into the ring to take on heart disease.
Seven year old Harry Farrell from Portadown, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart and has been through three surgeries. Harry, along with Maya Black from Bangor, can be seen on billboards and buses across NI this week as the stars of the Big Fight campaign.
200 children are born each year with congenital heart disease (CHD), making it the most common congenital condition - a condition present at birth - for children born in Northern Ireland. Many of these children will have to go through complex and invasive surgery, often at just a few hours or days old. The Children’s Heartbeat Trust provides emotional and practical support for these children and their families.
Speaking at the launch of Heart Week, Katherine McDonald, interim CEO of Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said: “Across Northern Ireland there are hundreds of children growing up with congenital heart disease, and, despite their young age, many have undergone a range of surgeries and other treatments. With their families, friends and the fantastic clinical team at the Clark Clinic at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, in their corner, each and every one of them is going toe-to-toe with their heart condition.
You can support Harry, Maya and all the other children with CHD by texting HEARTS to 70660 to donate £5 to the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, and you can join in on twitter and Facebook by posting your pictures with the hashtag #inyourcorner.
Katherine continued “At the Children’s Heartbeat Trust we are inspired every day by kids like Harry and Maya, who are managing complex conditions with such courage and determination, supported by their families and the amazing Clark Clinic team.
“Funds raised though the campaign will go to support the work of Children’s Heartbeat Trust work including: providing equipment and resources for Clark Clinic; running family support groups and young people’s services; providing information and resources and as well as practical support for children going through treatment and their families, including financial support for those receiving cardiac care outside Northern Ireland.
“With congenital heart disease being so common among children, it is important that they and their families are given all the support needed in their fight, and we hope that this campaign raises awareness of CHD and that the public join us in their corner.”
Throughout Heart Week Children’s Heartbeat Trust will be holding events, including their Family Support groups and teen groups, as well as pamper days for Heart Mums.