'We need your help more than ever' - Charity's urgent appeal to support heart surgery in Leeds

Charity bosses at the Children's Heart Surgery Fund in Leeds have issued an urgent plea to supporters to donate and help save lives after the coronavirus pandemic wiped out a swathe of its planned funding streams.

Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 11:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 11:58 am

The Leeds-based fund which supports the congenital heart unit at Leeds General Infirmary is predicting a loss of £300,000 over the next few months - a "significant portion" of its yearly income.

The coronavirus crisis has seen the charity lose the ability to generate many income streams overnight such as its fundraising challenge events and support from family income.

A fundraising page has now been set up to appeal to people to dig deep and give, no matter how small, warning a significant reduction in donations will have a "profound impact" on its ability to support the heart unit.

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Clinical workers at the Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, along with staff from the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, including CEO Sharon Milner, pictured far right. Picture: Steve Riding
Clinical workers at the Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, along with staff from the Children's Heart Surgery Fund, including CEO Sharon Milner, pictured far right. Picture: Steve Riding

It adds: "We are launching this urgent appeal to maintain our mission to save critically-ill patients and support hearts for life during this incredibly difficult period."

Sharon Milner, the CHSF's CEO, said: "After 13 years of leading CHSF and seeing our charity following the successful Save Our Surgery campaign, I never thought we would be in such a challenging position as we are today.

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“Our most important job right now is to deliver the medical equipment, ward facilities and family support for our beneficiaries - and we need your help more than ever.

“We know how hard this is hitting families and other businesses. However, we would greatly welcome donations, however small. They have never been more important than now to help sustain our vital cause and support the wonderful NHS.”

Earlier this year the Yorkshire Evening Post launched our Have a Heart campaign, to try and help the heart fund reach its target of £1m in donations this year.

During the coronavirus crisis, the hospital must still perform emergency heart surgery on babies and children and each year the unit treats around 22,000 congenital heart disease outpatients.

As well as supporting families and patients an the hospital, donations will also fund equipment to allow outpatients to monitor blood levels or their ECGs at home as well as paying for care packages for clinical staff unable to get essential supplies.