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2005 = 600 Broken Hearts!

19 May 2005

Media Release - for immediate release

Attention: Health reporter / news editor

2005 = 600 Broken Hearts!

This year, 600 babies will be born in New Zealand with a heart defect.

Heart Children New Zealand with the support of principal sponsor, Bank of New Zealand is aiming to try and find out why so many New Zealand children are born with a heart defect.

Heart Children New Zealand is aiming to raise over $500,000 during awareness week 22- 29th May 2005. Monies raised will provide essential services for heart children and their families and will help establish a Paediatric Cardiac Research Fellowship. The Research Fellowship will aim to uncover some of the answers to the many questions plaguing heart children and their families.

Children with heart defects make up the largest group of chronically ill children needing ongoing treatment in New Zealand.

Approximately 400 children this year alone will undergo some form of heart surgery. Every year 30-40 children with a heart defect lose their battle to survive.

Heart Children New Zealand Patron and celebrated children’s author, Margaret Mahy is a dedicated supporter of the charity and its work. “A heart defect affects more children in New Zealand than any other serious congenital abnormality. The difficulties that the children and their families face are enormous. We need to find out why so many of our children are born with a heart defect,” she said.

Heart Children New Zealand aims to have the Paediatric Cardiac Research Fellowship up and running by the end of the year. The Fellowship will undertake research into the cause and treatment of life threatening heart problems in children in New Zealand. Key areas of research have been identified as:
Safer cardiac surgery with better outcomes
Better ways of detecting and treating heart muscle damage
Detection and treatment of life threatening heart rhythm problems
Treatment of rheumatic heart disease.

Bank of New Zealand’s General Manager Marketing, Distribution and Strategy, Andrew Whitechurch, says “Bank of New Zealand wholeheartedly supports Heart Children New Zealand Heart Children in its efforts to establish the Paediatric Cardiac Research Fellowship. It is increasingly important that efforts are focused not only on the treatment of heart defects, but also on prevention.

“Bank staff across the country will be initiating fundraising activities throughout the week – from sausage sizzles to art auctions, from quiz competitions to bike rides. The aim is to not only raise funds, but to raise awareness of Heart Children, and their families,” says Mr Whitechurch.

“The highlight of the week will be a street appeal held throughout the country on Friday 27 May.”

During Awareness Week, people can donate to Heart Children at any Bank of New Zealand branch, by phoning 0900 4 HEART (0900 4 43278), or by using an EFTPOS card at any Bank of New Zealand ATM.


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