A partnership between firmus energy and Children’s Heartbeat Trust has supported 50 families to travel outside of Northern Ireland to access lifesaving treatment, no longer available in NI. The cessation of children’s heart surgical services in late 2014 at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (RBHSC), means that cardiac children and their families have to travel outside of Northern Ireland to access specialist treatment.
firmus energy, who earlier this year announced Children’s Heartbeat Trust as their ‘Charity of the Year’ has so far raised £12,500 for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust which has gone to supporting families throughout this process, removing a major financial barrier for many families.
Families in Northern Ireland are being put under increased emotional, practical and financial strain as they are separated from their normal family support structures and other children as some cannot afford the costs of flights for other family members or siblings.
Lynn Cowan, Fundraiser at Children’s Heartbeat Trust said:
“We are overjoyed at the fantastic amount firmus energy has raised to date through various fundraising activities. They have not only raised funds but vital awareness of congenital heart disease and its impact on children, young people and their families in Northern Ireland.
“The support that we provide is greatly appreciated by our families and makes a real, direct difference to them, at a time when they need it most. We are indebted to firmus energy for their amazing contribution to our work so far this year and look forward to their continued support in 2019.”
Established in 1984 the charity works throughout Northern Ireland supporting children and young people living with heart disease. Its services range from offering a support network, funding research and campaigning to raise awareness of the effect of heart conditions in childhood.
Rochelle Magee, who sits on the firmus energy fundraising committee, added:
“Families should not have to carry the financial burden when coping with the emotional stress of their baby or child undergoing complex open heart surgery. firmus energy is proud to help support Children’s Heartbeat Trust provide their much needed care and services to families across Northern Ireland.”
Some of the activities firmus energy has undertaken to raise these much needed funds included the Mourne Mountain Challenge which saw 12 firmus energy team members climb 2 of the 6 highest peaks in the Mournes - Slieve Donard Northern Ireland’s highest summit at 853m / 2,798ft and Slieve Commedagh 765m/2,509ft. Other activities included a ‘Hearty Tea Party’ and firmus energy bake off.
To find out more about childhood heart disease or to make a donation to the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, visit: www.childrensheartbeattrust.org