Heart Heroes Relay for children with Heart Conditions

Stepping out to help children with heart conditions

Hundreds of supporters and friends of Gloucester charity Heart Heroes are stepping out to take part in a walking challenge launched to mark February’s Heart Month.

And to help the challenge go viral, Heart Heroes has teamed up with the award-winning team that created Welba, whose founder was recognised by the Queen for helping the NHS during the pandemic.

Heart Heroes, which supports children who live with heart conditions and their families, has launched the Heart Heroes Relay.

By registering via the Welba app, each participant donates £5 to take part and walks 5km (or three miles). They then pass on the baton by nominating three more people to take part.

Heart Heroes founder, Kelly Cornish, hopes the #HeartHeroesRelay will raise awareness and funds, drive support for heart families, and encourage people to take some healthy exercise.

“We asked our families to get the ball rolling, and they have been spreading the word by nominating their friends to take part too,” said Kelly. “We hope the challenge will go viral, as it’s a fun one to take part in. We even have people in wheelchairs taking part, and that is fantastic. They just have to complete the 5km, then pass the baton on.”

Welba app founder, Oli Coles, has a son with a heart condition, which prompted him to get involved. Oli, from Chipping Norton, was awarded a BEM by the Queen, in recognition for the Hospitality for Heroes campaign he launched, to deliver quality food to NHS staff during the pandemic (£250,000 was raised and 150,000 meals were delivered). He also organised an online fundraising concert for International Nurses Day, which featured Mel C, Jack Savoretti and James Blunt.

“Before we even launched we had more than 70 people ready to start, and each of those will go on to nominate three more people, so we have the opportunity to spread the challenge far and wide,” said Oli. “The very people who are activating this are families like mine, as my son has a heart condition.”

Oli’s son Ozzy, who is just over a year old, has Tetralogy of Fallot, and has already undergone open heart surgery twice. He will need more surgery in the future.

“He’s doing really well, on the verge of walking, eats well, he’s an absolute dream and you wouldn’t know – as with so many heart children – that there was anything wrong with him, because it is very much a hidden disability,” said Oli. “This is why the Heart Heroes Relay is as much about awareness as about fundraising.”

As well as families and friends participating, medics from Bristol Royal Infirmary’s cardiac team and members of South West Congenital Heart Disease Network are also joining in, along with Heart Heroes’ corporate supporters.

The relay challenge in the Welba app connects to trackers, including Apple Watch, Apple Health, Google Fit and Strava, so walkers can record their time and distance, and there is a leaderboard showing the top performers. The app also handles all donations and distribution to Heart Heroes charity.

The relay is just one event that Heart Heroes is staging for Heart Month. Its regional hubs are also organising their own challenges, which anyone can take part in. These include ‘heart’ sewing kits, where each stitched heart is incorporated into one large heart-shaped tapestry.

They are also organising a paint-a-long on Zoom, where participants will create painted hearts, which will also be put together in a big heart picture.

Finally, Bristol Bears rugby club are holding a collection at one of their games in February, to collect funds for Heart Heroes.

Kelly said: “All the money we raise for this will help fund our own Heart Heroes App for our heart families, which will have lots of information on, with the aim of making hospital visits less daunting for the children.”

To register to take part in the Heart Heroes Relay, visit https://welba.app/heart-heroes-relay/

For more information, visit https://heartheroes.co.uk/.

Heart Heroes Founder nominated for an award.

REWARD ENTRY- Nominated by Jo Symth at Word-worker https://wordworker.co.uk

Organisation: Heart Heroes, located in Gloucester: 

Category: Leader of the Year

HEART HEROES FOUNDER:  Kelly Cornish

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In 2018 the charity Heart Heroes was founded, to support children with congenital heart conditions and their families.

Such children outwardly look ‘normal,’ as there is no obvious sign of disability. This in itself can be isolating. So Heart Heroes provides support, signposting and guidance to families as they face, and learn to live with, challenging medical conditions and all these entail: hospitalisation, surgery, missing school, and now (thanks to Covid) shielding.

With around 200 families on its book, and two recently opened Hubs (one in Bristol, one in Wales, to extend the charity’s reach) Heart Heroes is going from strength to strength.

The driving force behind Heart Heroes is mum-of-three Kelly Cornish.

Her inspiration is personal: 25 years ago, Kelly’s cousin, Corina, died aged just 10 months, while surgeons attempted to fit a stent in her heart. She had been born with a congenital heart condition.

Kelly said: “I had just finished senior school and I would go to see her every day at Bristol Children’s Hospital. It was all very traumatic for my aunt.”

As an adult, inspired by Corina, Kelly worked for a charity for young people with congenital heart disease. She soon realised there was little by way of support for parents of babies and small children.

So Heart Heroes was born.

Under Kelly’s guidance, the charity has a strong and supportive board of trustees, and has just taken on its first employee, Amy Ely. Recently, Zoe Trotman, Cardiac Ward Sister at Bristol Children’s Hospital, became patron, showing the strong link between the charity and the NHS.

Heart Heroes is all about raising awareness and supporting families through:

  • Events – now on hold due to Covid, but regular coffee mornings and socials are the backbone of the charity. Sadly, this year’s Christmas party and the first ever residential, which was being planned for the children, have also been postponed
  • Awareness, such as the ‘find the teddies’ campaign run via social media
  • A children’s book, telling the story of Naayt, which will help children going through the same experience
  • A Heart Heroes song, soon to be launched, again to raise awareness.
  • Fundraisers, such as a virtual tea party, casino evening, ball, It’s a knockout, quizzes, bingo, virtual fair, an online gig… and much more.

Here are some of the comments from Heart Heroes families:

Maggie’s Mum, Ruth: “I am able to go to the Heart Heroes group and talk about my experiences. Everyone is very friendly and approachable and Kelly looks after us. She has the family experience and it is like she is one of us. She does so much for us.”

Gabriel’s Mum, Lottie: “Not everyone understands what it is like to know that your baby’s heart has been stopped while they operate on them. They do not understand what it is like to see your child with all of those tubes coming out of them.”

Naayt’s Mum, Rose: “Heart Heroes has been brilliant for our family, because it is very difficult for people who aren’t heart families to understand what we go through.”

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Supporting material:

Heart Heroes video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW2pqefepYA&feature=emb_logo

Press coverage for Heart Heroes:

https://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/gloucester-heart-heroes-teddy-charity-4521525

https://www.raikesjournal.co.uk/not-for-profit/a-book-telling-the-story-of-a-three-year-old-gloucestershire-boy-aims-to-inspire-other-children-with-heart-conditions–23102020100052/

I am the song- Heart Heroes awareness song

‘Will you shine in my night?
Hold my shield as I fight?’

Our awareness song has our heart children and their families in mind but we do think the lyrics will resonate with many people. Everyone is fighting a battle or has fought a battle albeit maybe sometimes not physical.

‘To try persistently and with great effort to do or achieve something’

https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/richardlane/i-am-the-song 

Download available from Spotify, iTunes, Amazon from the 7/12/2020

Rule of Six Gives

THE RULE OF SIX 💙

As we know the rule of six applies to the limit on how many should mix in a group. Join us in the #ruleofsixgives by donating £6 to your chosen charity, SHARE AND TAG 6 FRIENDS to do the same. We are donating £6 to Hope for Tomorrow http://www.hopefortomorrow.org.uk

1. GIVING TO CHARITY MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD

2. GIVING TO CHARITY STRENGTHENS PERSONAL VALUES

3. GIVING IS MORE IMPACTFUL THAN EVER

4. GIVING TO CHARITY INTRODUCES YOUR CHILDREN TO THE IMPORTANCE OF GENEROSITY

5. GIVING TO CHARITY ENCOURAGES FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME

6.CHARITIES NEED SUPPORT NOW MORE THAN EVER

Heart Heroes Teddy Hugs

Gloucester heart charity finds furry way to raise awareness

If you go down to the woods in Gloucester – or any location in the city for that matter – you are sure of a big surprise!

Because to raise awareness for the work it does, Gloucester charity Heart Heroes is leaving knitted teddies out and about in area, and anyone who finds them can keep them and is then encouraged to post on social media.

The teddies are all safely wrapped, and have been donated by two keen knitters in Gloucester. Each teddy comes with information about Heart Heroes, which supports families with children who have heart conditions. There is also a little poem inside:

You have found a Heart Heroes hug bear,

Please can you go onto our Facebook page and share,

We all need a hug during this crisis

These little things are priceless.

Amy Ely, who has just joined Heart Heroes to help with admin and raising awareness, dreamed up the idea of leaving the teddies out and about, and also wrote the poem.

“The teddies were all knitted by a friend of mine and her sister,” said Amy. “When they found out I was joining Heart Heroes they asked if we would like them – we said yes please! They’d rather remain anonymous, but we would like to say a big thank you to them.”

The keen knitters have donated around 70 bears to Heart Heroes. Most will be kept back to give to the heart families and to the children while they are in hospital. The rest are being left around and about in Gloucester.

Kelly Cornish, who founded Heart Heroes, added: “We had a call from a jogger who had found a teddy and she said it had really made her smile. This is really about bringing a bit of awareness about what we do, and to share a little happiness in these difficult times.”

Amy is not the only new addition to the Heart Heroes team. Also joining the charity, as patron, is Zoe Trotman, Cardiac Ward Sister at Bristol Children’s Hospital, which cares for many of the region’s young heart patients. Zoe will also be able to spread awareness of Heart Heroes and connect families who need support.

Zoe said: “I was delighted to be asked to be part of Heart Heroes as their passion for improving the lives of children and their families who have to live with congenital heart disease is amazing. Heart Heroes is a great resource for me as a ward sister as I know I can contact them if there is anything the ward needs or I would like, to help bring a smile to a patient’s face or just make their stay in hospital a little more fun. 

“For many of the children I look after they will have to come in to hospital many times in their lives and it’s a key part of their journey, but the support needs to carry on once they go home. Being part of Heart Heroes helps me to build that link as it’s great to receive feedback and ideas on how I can make the hospital stays better.”

For more information about Heart Heroes and the work they do to support families in Gloucestershire and throughout the South West,  email to Kelly at email@heartheroes.co.uk.

Written By Jo Symth- Word worker

https://www.punchline-gloucester.com/articles/aanews/gloucester-heart-charity-heart-heroes-finds-furry-way-to-raise-awareness