“With advances in technology and medicine funded by Children’s Heart Surgery Fund I can live an independent life with an amazing family.”

We spoke to Catherine Bickerstaff, Mid West Yorkshire Caravan Club committee member and adult heart warrior, about her CHD diagnosis and what inspired the Club to fundraise for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund…

How has CHSF helped your family specifically?

“I was born on 24th December 1978 with congenital heart disease, a condition called Transposition of the Great Arteries.”

 

“I had my first procedure on Boxing Day at just two days old, followed by open heart surgery, a Mustard Procedure, in November the following year. In 1982 I had a further Mustard procedure.”

Transposition of the great arteries (TGA) is a serious, rare heart problem in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed (transposed).

“I have had continual care, including regular outpatient appointments and tests both at Killingbeck Hospital and now Leeds General Infirmary. I have also had support from the foetal cardiology team that has enabled me to have two beautiful daughters of my own. I now live with an Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD).”

What is an ICD? An ICD is a small device which can treat people with dangerously abnormal heart rhythms. It sends electrical pulses to regulate abnormal heart rhythms, especially those that could be dangerous and cause a cardiac arrest.

Why did you choose to fundraise for CHSF?

“Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has always been a charity that is close to our hearts. My parents started fundraising for the heart unit at Leeds on 25th December 1978, as soon as I was born. Since then Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has been a charity we have continued to support.”

What fundraising have you completed for CHSF?

“My family and I are members of the Mid West Yorkshire Caravan Club. Each year we raise money for a nominated charity and for 2022 we nominated Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.”

 

“Monies were raised through a variety of activities through the year including auctions, raffles and one-off donations.”

Is there any advice you would give to other fundraisers?

“My advice to anyone thinking of fundraising is don’t set your expectations too high. Remember that every little helps.”

 

“Enjoy what you do and promote the charity at the same time, hoping that increased awareness will encourage others to generate further funds for CHSF in future!”

Is there anything else you would like to say about CHSF?

“It is amazing how technology has progressed since 1978. With advances in technology and medicine funded by Children’s Heart Surgery Fund I can live an independent life with an amazing family.”

“It was wonderful to meet the CAMC Mid West Yorkshire Centre and thank them personally for the fantastic fundraising they’ve undergone! A huge thank you to Deborah, Catherine, Karen, Janet, Keith and everyone in the club for coming to together to support CHSF!” — Eve, Community & Events Fundraiser

A big thank you to members of the Mid West Yorkshire Caravan and Motorhome Club for choosing CHSF as your Charity of the Year for 2022.

The amazing £2,528 you raised will go such a long way in supporting our world-class Leeds Congenital Heart Unit, it’s heart patients and their families.

It is only with support from people like you that CHSF can keep being there for heart heroes like Catherine in the future. Thank you.

Are you feeling inspired and fancy doing some fundraising of your own? Check out our ‘Get Involved’ page or email the team at info@chsf.org.uk.

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