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Sunday, 24 October 2021
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Child hero puts her heart into raising funds for children’s charity

The Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) has received a £635 donation from a toddler on the Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital Newcastle after she completed a one-mile ‘Toddle’ challenge with support from her family.  

CHUF organises an annual ‘Toddle’ event every year which encourages supporters to walk one mile and raise money for the charity, which supports babies, children and young adults born with or who develop congenital heart disease.

Despite suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, 20-month-old Grace did her bit for CHUF, showing great courage and enthusiasm along the way.

Grace is one of CHUF’s Heart Heroes and has been a patient on the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital for 14 months. Whilst she waits for a heart transplant, the toddler is fitted with a Berlin Heart Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), which takes over the function of a child’s heart when it becomes too weak.

She recently switched to a new machine called The Active, which means she can move around more freely as it has a battery life of eight hours, which is much longer than the previously used machine, which only had 30 minutes of battery power.

This has meant that Grace could walk around the park and finish the last leg of her toddle on her return to the hospital. Her mam Rebecca said, “Grace is just learning to walk and being on the new machine means she can do a whole lap of the hospital, which we’ve never been able to do in the past.

“We are so proud of Grace, and for such a little girl, she has been so resilient throughout her treatment. CHUF has supported us so much over the last 14-months whilst we have been on the ward throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From food vouchers to play sessions, ice cream van visits, pizza parties, and clown doctor visits, these are just some of the amazing ways that CHUF has offered support to us as a family throughout our time on the ward. We could not go without thanking CHUF and wanted to complete the Toddle with Grace to raise as much money as we could.”

For the second year running, CHUF organised their annual Toddle virtually, and supporters took to beaches, country parks and forests in fancy dress to complete their challenge of clocking up the miles.

Director of Fundraising and Operations Charlotte Campbell said, “We are so proud of Grace and the journey she has been on and finding the strength to complete her Toddle for CHUF.

“CHUF once again received amazing support from our partners, the Sir Graham Wylie Foundation that generously pledged £10,000 in match funding, doubling every penny raised.”

CHUF raises vital funds for large and small pieces of equipment, facilities, aftercare, salaries and research. CHUF’s charitable activities, however, go far beyond that of providing medical equipment and personnel. The Charity provides holistic care to the children by providing services and facilities that allow Heart Heroes to develop their skills and mature as any healthy child normally would.

More information about CHUF can be found here: https://www.chuf.org.uk/.  

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