Heart theatre nurse Filipa Ferreira is encouraging everyone to take part in a charity fitness challenge to kick start the new decade.

She took on a Portuguese coastal walk to Santiago de Compostela for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) late last year, and wants others to get fit and raise money at the same time.

Filipa works in the Leeds Children’s Hospital’s hybrid theatre which uses medical equipment funded by CHSF supporters, and saves the lives of young patients with congenital heart disease every day.

She sees first-hand the work that CHSF does for patients, their families and the staff at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit.

Filipa said:

I was supposed to walk just 280km (this is the official distance), but in the end I finished walking 337km!

It’s an incredible walk and I even had the opportunity to take CHSF’s mascot Katie Bear with me to keep me company.

The best advice I can give is do challenges that are good for you – and at the same time fundraise money for this amazing charity!

It’s a good way to say thank you for the hard work the charity do, and a good way to help others.

CHSF organises a range of charity events all year round, including a new one for this year – the Big Swim.

The challenge involves swimming the length of the English Channel, but over multiple swims and in a local pool.

CHSF CEO Sharon Milner said:

Our Big Swim challenge means you can have fun, keep fit and de-stress, knowing your fundraising is making a huge difference.

With nearly 1 in 100 babies in the UK born with a congenital heart defect, we owe a huge thank you to all donors – including Filipa – who put their time and energy into raising vital funds for CHSF.

We have a good range of challenge events available all year round to suit all abilities and fitness levels, so please get involved in 2020.

Entry to the Big Swim is just £5 at chsf.org.uk/events, and fundraisers will receive a pack through the post, and all the support they need from CHSF.

Events on offer for 2020 also include running and cycling events plus gravity-defying challenges like the Wing Walk and Abseil. Fundraisers can also devise their own event challenges, and will enjoy the full support of the CHSF team.

Filipa had this final message for readers:

I would like to ask all of you reading this… think about one challenge you would like to do, go for it and raise some money for this amazing charity!

To take part in an event for CHSF, simply visit chsf.org.uk/events to read more, or get a fundraising pack at chsf.org.uk/get-involved.