Heart families
Heart families, from left to right: Natalie Day, Andy and Caroline Marsden, Jamie Waldron, Sara Worker, Kayley Waldron, Mark Worker and Kevin Morris

CHSF associates and supporters came together to officially launch the Keeping the Beat campaign at the Leeds Club on 19th May 2016.

From politicians to sportsmen, clinicians to trustees, it proved a galvanizing evening with a number of powerful and uniting speeches.

The audience comprised of some of the “heart families” – those whose children have been affected by congenital heart problems. This added context to the collective spirit and we’re very grateful for their attendance.

It also showcased a number of specially commissioned “heart hero” photos by Maryanne Scott Photography of adult congenital patients, who also attended the event.

Colin Clewes, an Adult Congenital Heart patient himself, spoke very candidly about the importance of the heart unit and how he wouldn’t be here without it. His company, Pennine Signs, kindly printed out the lifesize heart heroes portraits for us free of charge and provided other marketing materials.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund works directly with those benefitting from its output on a daily basis. I’ve never experienced this close relationship between employee and subject in the charity sector, and it’s is such a motivating factor in our work.

From CHSF CEO Sharon Coyle’s introductory speech through to Gary Hetherington’s final keynote talk on the shared team ethics of Leeds Rhinos, the tone was one of support, positivity and a shared sense of resilience in the face of hard times.

Carin Van Doorn, Head of Congenital Cardiac Surgery, and Kevin Watterson, retired surgeon and CHSF chairman, gave their learned views on the undoubted potential of the new hybrid theatre. The theatre will set up Leeds as one of the leading lights in European cardiac treatment.


Christian and Freya Carroll

Finally, parents Christian and Freya Carroll presented CHSF with a cheque for £31,000 which they’ve raised themselves for Keeping the Beat through hosting a charity ball.

This is to give back to the heart unit for the major surgery, support and treatment of their son Albie.

To hear more about Albie’s story, you can listen to an interview with Christian Carroll on Stray FM.

A memorable evening and one which paves the way for the success of this tremendous campaign.