‘We can’t thank you enough’: Children’s Heart Surgery Fund awards ‘exceptional’ amount of money to Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds Children’s Hospital

The impressive 2021 funding was dedicated to medical equipment, service facilities, parent accommodations and one-on-one support for families treated on the unit.

CHSF CEO Sharon Milner hailed public donations and regional support as the charity’s “heartbeat” to enable its work of “supporting hearts for life” to continue.

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Family support worker Sarah Cherry, whose role was funded by the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

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She said: “We have given an exceptional amount to our beneficiaries in 2021 – which is good news for congenital heart disease patients in Yorkshire and beyond, and for their families.

“The heart of our charity is our supporters – the businesses, schools, trusts and foundations and the amazing people who raise money for FCSS every day and help raise awareness for congenital heart disease.

“The projects we funded last year were absolutely essential in optimizing the treatment of some of the poorest patients in our region – and our vision of supporting hearts for life must continue.

Sharon Milner, CEO of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Photo Tony Johnson

“While the statistic remains that 1 in 100 babies are born with a congenital heart defect, our failure to sustain hearts for life will continue – as long as necessary.”

Among the medical equipment funded last year was “Kardia” mobile ECG machines that allow adults and children with congenital heart disease to self-monitor their heart rates at home using their cellphones.

Results are emailed directly to the hospital, eliminating disruption to school and work.

The latest study in Leeds showed that this equipment enabled more than half of patients who reported palpitations to be subsequently diagnosed using the Kardia machine at home.

Colin Clewes, a congenital heart disease patient and CHSF trustee, owner of Pennine Signs in Mytholmroyd, Calderdale, received a Kardia machine through the charity.

He said: ‘I had been suffering from atrial fibrillation attacks for some time and one of the consultants suggested that they arrange a Kardia mobile device to record my episodes during my daily life so they can help consider a better treatment plan. I didn’t think too much about it and a week later it arrived in the mail.

“What surprised me was that it arrived and the note said it was funded by CHSF. Although I know of the excellent work that the FCSS does, I did not know that they also help adult patients.

“It was a total surprise how much the charity helps everyone on their journey with congenital heart defects.”

CHFS also funded hospital equipment in 2021, including blood pressure monitors for adult patients and cardiac care facilities for children, such as a fridge-freezer, microwave oven and play therapy resources.

CEO Sharon added, “All of the successes of FCSS are due to public support and the passion and selfless dedication of our donors.

“Times are tough, but people are resilient and we can’t thank you enough for continuing to change – and save – lives.

“Thanks to all of you, we are proud to support the hearts, minds, families and futures of congenital heart patients by funding the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit – a world-class center of excellence.

“Please keep the hearts of FCSS racing by continuing to support hearts for life.”

For more information about CHSF and how to donate, visit: www.chsf.org.uk.

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