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Heart Children CEO to lead World Coalition

Media Release 11 November 2009

Heart Children CEO to lead World Coalition

CEO of Heart Children NZ, Lara Syddall, was recently elected as President of the International Congenital Heart Disease Coalition at its first World Summit in Toronto. Made up of 24 countries with patient organizations, the Coalition voted unanimously to appoint Syddall as their first elected chair.

The President of the Canadian Congenital Heart Alliance John MacEachern said Ms Syddall impressed the attending countries with the quality of work and programmes she has implemented with Heart Children New Zealand. He said that it was Syddall’s passion for creating awareness of CHD and enriching the quality of life for children, youth and adults affected, that led to the unanimous vote.

The Coalition aims to promote quality congenital heart care, improve quality of life, increase congenital heart research and education and raise international awareness of the lifelong needs of those born with the world’s most common birth defect.

“I consider it a privilege to be part of a coalition dedicated to ensuring lifelong care and support for those affected by the world’s most common birth defect,” says Syddall. “We are incredibly fortunate to have a world class Paediatric Cardiac Team at Auckland City Hospital and together I look forward to sharing our successes on the international stage.”

In the past, few children born with a heart defect could expect to survive past their teenage years. Due to medical and surgical advances there are now more adults living with a congenital heart defect than children. It’s a world first. However, despite increased longevity, congenital heart youth and adults face lifelong health concerns, psychological, social and lifestyle issues.

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Worldwide the impact of CHD continues to rise. Here in New Zealand 12 babies are born with a heart defect every week, 600 every year, or 1 in every 100 live births. An additional number of children will acquire a heart condition often as a result of rheumatic fever.

More to follow …

Heart Children CEO to lead World Coalition – Page 2

Heart Children New Zealand currently provides in excess of 50 services to children, youth and their families. The development of a nationwide youth and adult network is also already underway.

“With a growing membership and a commitment to meeting the needs of children, youth and adults throughout their life’s journey, the number and scope of our services will continue to grow,” says Syddall.” “Now we can say, we’re with you for life.”

Heart Children New Zealand began 25 years ago, the legacy of then new Mums, Michelle Mann and Linda Davies who, despite the loss of their own heart children, set about easing the chronic need for parental support and information.

Today Heart Children New Zealand stretches across the nation, providing professional emotional, practical and financial support, information, education, training, advocacy, specialized equipment and friendship to thousands of children, youth, adults and their families.

For more information on Heart Children New Zealand visit


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