Little five year old Molly McKnight from Carnmoney and three year old Dáithí Mac Gabhann from Belfast were on hand recently to help the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Daniel Baker pick out something red to wear as part of Children’s Heartbeat Trust’s Rock Red Friday campaign.
The campaign which takes place this Friday 14th February marks the end of Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week (7th -14th February) and encourages people to wear something red and donate to the charity.
This could be through a simple collection in your office or full blown fundraising event – it doesn’t matter as long as you ROCK RED and all with the aim of raising awareness of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) – Northern Ireland’s most common birth defect – and much-needed funds to support the work of the local children’s charity.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Daniel Baker, is encouraging local communities, businesses and schools to sign up and hold a Rock Red Event:
“I’m delighted to help Children’s Heartbeat Trust raise awareness of their Rock Red Friday campaign. This is a fantastic cause and I’m encouraging everyone in Belfast and further afield to host an event and wear something red to highlight the work of this amazing charity.”
Children’s Heartbeat Trust provides practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people born with CHD and their families. Molly and Dáithí are just two of the hundreds of children who are supported by the charity.
Both Molly and Dáithí were born with a serious heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) in which the left side of the heart is underdeveloped.
Five year old Molly has already endured two major open heart surgeries, the first when she was just three months old and again more recently in November when she had to travel to Evelina London Children’s Hospital.
With children’s heart surgery ceasing in Belfast in 2014, this means that all children who require open heart surgery are now needing to travel outside of Northern Ireland to access lifesaving treatment.
Three year old Dáithí was just four days old when he received open heart surgery. Unfortunately for Dáithí and his family all surgery has now been exhausted and he has been placed on the transplant list awaiting a new heart for over 600 days.
Lynn Cowan, from Children’s Heartbeat Trust, said: “We are privileged to be able to support incredible children like Molly and Dáithí who have been through so much in their short lives. Over two hundred children are born each year in Northern Ireland with congenital heart disease (CHD) and we want as many people as possible to host a Rock Red Friday event on February 14th!”
“Whether it be red stripy socks, a jumper or your favourite red heels, it’s easy to rock red with your outfit and help to raise awareness and funds for the charity. All support and donations no matter how big or small are greatly appreciated.”
Children’s Heartbeat Trust is a local charity supporting children and young people with heart disease and their families. The charity works closely with Clark Clinic at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to ensure that children with heart disease and their families receive the best care, treatment and support possible.
Last year the charity were able to support over 500 families affected by CHD in Northern Ireland. To find out more information on the work of the charity and how to sign up to Rock Red Friday please visit www.childrensheartbeattrust.org.