Putting The Spotlight On New Zealand’s Bravest Hearts
Heart Kids, the only not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting New Zealand’s heart children, is appealing to the New Zealand public for donations to help continue its dedicated and much needed support for these special Kiwi kids and their families.
Every week in New Zealand 12 babies are born with a heart defect, that is 1 in every 100 births. A congenital heart defect (CHD) is the most common birth defect. There is no prevention nor cure for a CHD. It is also the #1 cause of death in babies and newborns.
Thankfully, standing by their side, through every traumatic diagnosis and surgical procedure, is HeartKids – which support heart children – our Brave Hearts – throughout life. Over the next four weeks HeartKids is asking the New Zealand public for donations to help it continue its practical and emotional support for heart families.
Jackson (pictured above) is a special Brave Heart boy who has endured more than most other children his age. He underwent two major heart surgeries before the age of four months, and is awaiting his third, and hopefully final, surgery this spring – shortly after his third birthday in June.
Jackson’s mum Krystal Gardiner says she has always felt like Heart Kids has been a cornerstone in the village that it takes to raise Jackson.
“Without Heart Kids I would have been so lonely – especially on the ward. Having their support of hot meals and a chat whilst I was living at the hospital ward with Jackson was so important,” says Krystal. “With Heart Kids, our family can connect with people who understand what we’re going through and how life changes – and know the medical terminology around every hospital visit and what that means, without us having to explain it.”
“Every year, more than 600 major heart surgeries are performed on children or babies, sometimes in their first few hours of life,” says Nicola Garland, Heart Kids New Zealand Fundraising and Communications Manager. “For many, this won’t be their last operation and they will continue to face the day-to-day challenges associated with their heart condition for the rest of their lives – and that’s what we are here for.”
“Normally we’d be out on street corners shaking our collection buckets. But that obviously couldn’t happen this year. We’ve had to cancel our street appeal and other fundraising events due to Covid-19.”
“Instead our volunteers, supporters, heart families and friends are shaking their virtual buckets and collecting donations at shakeabucket.org.nz.”
Heart Kids has over 10,000 members and is growing at 15 per cent each year. It provides heart children and their families with practical and emotional support such as information, education, training, counselling, specialist equipment, leadership development for heart youth and adults, specialised camps for heart kids, an opportunity to connect with other families or a hot meal for hospital-bound families.
Heart Kids receives no funding from the government and needs generous donations from the public to provide its services.