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Children’s charity @Heart Inc renamed Heart Kids New Zealand

Media Release

Children’s charity @Heart Inc renamed Heart Kids New Zealand

New CEO to lead the reinvigorated organisation

@Heart Inc, the only charity in New Zealand that provides lifelong support for Kiwi kids with an inborn or acquired heart defect has recently changed its name to Heart Kids New Zealand Inc (Heart Kids NZ), marking an exciting development for this long-standing organisation.

Taking the helm of the renamed organisation is newly appointed CEO Rob Lutter. Rob said, “We are all very excited about the new name. Heart Kids NZ captures the essence of who we are and what we stand for. Our members and supporters are equally pleased about this development and they feel positively about Heart Kids NZ. We are confident that the new name will play a significant part in our effort to raise awareness about the far-reaching impact of childhood heart disease (CHD). ”

Rob has a strong affiliation with Heart Kids, a cause close to his heart. His 17-year-old son was born with multiple heart defects and has undergone 15 heart operations, four of which were open-heart surgeries.

As a heart parent, Rob knows well the challenges facing heart kids and their families. He is passionate about helping others with similar needs and has been involved with the charity for years, including in a leadership role as a Board member for the past nine years. He brings with him extensive leadership experience not only in the commercial and non-for-profit sectors, but also public services where he served as a Napier City Councillor for nine years.

Commenting on Rob’s appointment, Donna Jujnovich, Chairperson of Heart Kids NZ said, “It is another major milestone in our journey as we continue to build our people, our organisational capacity and our future for the benefits of the 12 babies born with a heart defect every week in New Zealand.”

Children with congenital heart defects make up the largest group of chronically ill children requiring ongoing medical intervention in New Zealand. Previously healthy children can acquire a heart condition as a result of a childhood illness such as rheumatic fever. Although surgeries can improve the heart’s function of those affected, the challenges they face are lifelong as there is no cure for a congenital heart defect and a damaged heart.

Rob said, “Heart kids and their families need support from us in many ways. Every day, Heart Kids NZ touches the lives of heart kids and their families by providing them with the practical and emotional support they need to cope with the challenges of a CHD. However, Heart Kids NZ receives no government funding and relies on voluntary donations for all the services it provides to the growing community of heart kids and heart families.”

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Notes to Editors

About Heart Kids New Zealand

Heart Kids NZ is the only organisation in New Zealand dedicated to providing lifelong support for all those affected by childhood heart conditions.

Started in 1980 by two heart mums due to a need for parental information and support, the network continued to grow and formalised itself as Heart Children Incorporated in 1984 and subsequently changed its name to Heart Children New Zealand Incorporated.

With an increasing number of adults surviving childhood heart conditions, the organisation has responded by extending its support to heart children throughout their lives, not just in their younger years. It changed its name to @Heart Inc in 2010 and subsequently to Heart Kids New Zealand Inc (Heart Kids NZ) in June 2014. The organisation serves Kids@Heart, Teens@Heart, Adults@Heart and Families@Heart.

Heart Kids NZ (www.heartnz.org.nz) now stretches across the nation providing kids, teens, adults and families affected by childhood heart conditions with free access to its 50+ services. The charity is a non-government organisation and is not affiliated with the Heart Foundation. Charity Registration CC20102.

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