George Hinkins from Harrogate
George Hinkins from Harrogate

Harrogate family ask people to wear red and support congenital heart disease

30 January 2016

Regional charity, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund is calling on the local community to come together to support Wear Red Day, an annual initiative taking place on 5 February 2016, which aims to raise awareness of congenital heart disease and funds for the charity.

Over 200 schools and businesses across the Yorkshire, Humber and North Lincolnshire are taking part by wearing red. Leeds Trinity will be turning their lights red in order to help drive further awareness of the campaign, now in its fourth year.

Last year, a fantastic £48,000 was raised thanks to the support of schools, businesses and the general public donating online and by text on the day. The money will fund equipment and resources for the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, based at the Leeds General Infirmary, the region’s only heart unit.

This year, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund’s focus is to support the new standards created by NHS England, which are now being implemented by each centre across the country. The standards are extensive and costly; therefore the charity’s aim is to support these new standards where ever possible to ensure the region retains the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.

George had to undergo open heart surgery within his first few days of life
George had to undergo open heart surgery within his first few days of life

Jane Hinkins and her family from Harrogate are getting involved in Wear Red Day this year due to the experience the family have had with the charity on a personal basis. Jane’s son George was diagnosed at birth with Ebstein’s Anomaly, a rare ventricle condition which affects the right hand side of the heart. George had to undergo open heart surgery within his first few days of life and has had a series of operations in the months and years since.

Jane said:

We can hardly articulate how appreciative we are of the care and support George and the whole family have received from the nurses on the ward and the staff at the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund over the past few years.

George celebrated his second birthday last November, something which we feared we wouldn’t see happen when we first heard about his condition in July 2013.

Despite the fact that he will need further surgery in the future, we encourage George to do anything and everything he wants to and we know that with the amazing support from the consultants, surgeons, nurses and fantastic team at the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund it will be a much easier experience.

George’s nursery, Footprints Day Nursery in Harrogate is supporting Wear Red Day next Friday (5th February) by encouraging all of the children and families to wear red and Jane and her family are encouraging other local businesses and organisations to get involved.

Sharon Coyle, CEO of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, said:

At least 10,000 babies and children from Yorkshire, Humber and North Lincolnshire pass through the unit each year with around 400 of these patients having open heart surgery.

The aim of Wear Red Day is to raise awareness for a disease that affects roughly 12 new born babies every day in the UK and to fundraise for vital equipment, resources and family support.

Without the support for Wear Red Day, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund would not be able to support our mission to support the new standards set by NHS England, and ensure the retention of the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.

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