Here we are in JUNE and with it we want to celebrate our brand new Fundraisers of the Month, The Dickie Family who stepped up to the challenge of climbing a mountain for CHSF…on their stairs at home!

Evie Dickie is little over 3 months old but has already undergone two major heart surgeries at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit – the second of which took place after the coronavirus pandemic began.

Once home and recovering, her momentous journey inspired her parents to embark on a gruelling challenge in order to give back to Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. Proving the lockdown is no barrier to impressive fundraising feats, Claire and Neil climbed 36,680 steps – the equivalent of Mount Kilimanjaro – on their home staircase, with Evie coming along for the ride in the sling!

Why did you choose to fundraise for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund?

Our daughter Evie has already had to have two heart surgeries for coarctation of the aorta and a bicuspid aortic valve, one at 12 days old and one at 8 weeks old. Whilst Evie was in PICU and HDU we were lucky enough to be provided with a room by CHSF.


The room that was provided by Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was a lifeline during such a difficult time. It was particularly important to us during Evie’s second surgery which happened during the coronavirus lockdown. This meant that Evie’s Daddy Neil, who wasn’t allowed into PICU or Ward L51 as it was one parent only to reduce infection risks, could be nearby to offer support.

“…we really wanted to give back, to make sure that the charity was still there and able to offer support to future families like ours.”

We knew that CHSF, like many other charities, were under pressure due to COVID-19 as it had lost so many fundraising streams overnight. Due to this we really wanted to give back, to make sure that the charity was still there and able to offer support to future families like ours.


That’s when we decided to do one of CHSF’s virtual challenges and ‘climbed kilimanjaro’ on our stairs at home during lockdown, with little Evie in her sling the whole way.


We were really happy that we challenged ourselves and having the extra motivation of what Evie had been through really helped to give us the strength to finish. We are just truly grateful to Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Lisa who works for the charity has been great at helping us organise our fundraiser and supporting publicity for it.

Senior Community Fundraising Manager, Lisa Williams said:

It’s been so lovely to work with the Dickie Family – we haven’t been able to meet face to face, so everything has been organised virtually!


I spoke with Claire on being discharged from hospital to discuss sending Evie her Katie Bear in the post. Claire was so keen to help support CHSF, I chatted to her about our virtual fundraising events and emailed some information. The family decided on their challenge and totally smashed it!


We are blown away by the amazing amount raised and so grateful to the Dickie’s family and friends for their kind donations. Such an amazing achievement, thank you Claire, Neil and Evie! #BecauseofYou

CHSF CEO Sharon Milner wanted to add her personal thanks to the family…

We were completely overwhelmed by the level of support given to Children’s Heart Surgery Fund from the Dickie Family, especially so soon after leaving hospital.


Their passion for our cause and their ability to harness so much help from friends and family is quite remarkable – even more so in this current climate.


This is one of those jaw-dropping moments we see in fundraising. I genuinely believe you will have inspired others to support CHSF’s work and you should be incredibly proud of your achievements.

After closing their JustGiving page on 12 May, the Dickie family’s total raised for CHSF sits at a staggering £4990 – with Neil’s work offering to match fund the total up to £3000!

This money will go such a long way, ensuring that CHSF can keep supporting our regions heart patients and their families, for life. Thank you.

Take on a challenge of your own

Check out our home-based fundraising challenges. Keep yourself healthy at home whilst social distancing and support CHSF at the same time by getting your nearest and dearest to sponsor you online.