Pack away those pumpkins and closet those costumes for another year, November is here already and with it comes not one but two incredible fundraisers for Fundraiser of the Month!

This month we celebrate the amazing efforts of Steph Matu and Karen Jackson who conquered the Great North Run at the beginning of September, raising a huge amount of money for CHSF in the process! The pair were inspired to run after witnessing the care their niece/grandaughter Sophia received when visiting the Leeds Congential Heart Unit.

Steph and Karen before their run

Sophia Vivienne Matu was born on 26th December 2017 at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI). A few hours after birth she was diagnosed with an extremely rare congenital heart disease called Total anomalous pulmonary venous drainage (TAPVD), meaning the blood didn’t flow properly from her lungs to her heart.

At just one day old, Sophia underwent emergency open heart bypass surgery to correct the TAPVD. Over the following three months Sophia endured two further open heart surgeries, and one diaphragm surgery at the LGI.

Sophia is still under cardiac follow up at LGI, and had a cardiac catheter procedure in September.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has helped our family no end throughout this traumatic ordeal. We noticed CHSF stickers on a variety of cutting edge equipment used in Sophia’s care. We enjoyed the family rooms with televisions, tea, coffee etc. Even small things like the fish tank on the ward make a huge difference; once we could take Sophia out of her bed we loved taking her to see the fish!

Proud fundraisers at CHSF HQ

Steph (Sophia’s Aunty) and Karen (Sophia’s grandmother) completed the Great North Run on 9th September 2018 raising a total of £5,330 for CHSF.

They started their fundraising by setting up a Just Giving page. This was mentioned to family, friends, sports clubs and their employers.

We were amazed by everyone’s generosity including a large donation of £2,250 from SIMA/ Unite the Union.

Stephanie also did bake sales and painted pictures for friends.

Ready for a challenge!                                     Steph crosses the finish line

We asked Steph and Karen if there is any advice they would give to other people thinking about fundraising for CHSF…

Just remember the reason you’re doing the fundraising; the smiles on these babies faces. Fundraising for CHSF not only saves the lives of these children, but makes the process of it all substantially easier for parents at such a stressful time.

Just a massive thank you for all the hard work you do. From the specialist equipment in PICU, to the Easter eggs on Easter Sunday – we hugely appreciate it!

We chose to fundraise for CHSF due to the superb care they have provided, and still provide, to Sophia and her family.

Now 10 months old, Sophia is an absolute delight to have around, extremely smiley and happy – and hopefully in a few months she will be able to say ‘thank you’ herself, as she experiments with her voice!

And THANK YOU Steph and Karen for your amazing efforts – your donation will make a massive difference to the lives of babies and children with congenital heart disease in our region.


Are you feeling inspired? If you think you could run for CHSF get in touch with Events & Sponsorship Manager Charlotte ( 0113 381 4810) to register your interest!