Charity event a white hot success

A CHARITY event has hit all the white notes after raising £25,000 for The Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.  

Sunderland couple Sergio and Emma Petrucci hosted a Dubai-inspired lunch at Ramside Hall on Sunday, and have announced that it raised £25,000, for the unit that saved their daughter’s life less than two years ago.

The Ashbrooke husband and wife – who founded Red Sky Ball, organised the charity brunch to raise cash that will go towards funding lifesaving equipment for young children with heart problems.  It takes their total funds raised to just shy of £200,000 in less than two years. 

The event attracted support from a number of commercial partners from region and beyond, including their main sponsor Emirates.  More than HOW MANY guests attended the event.  

Sergio and Emma began their fundraising for CHUF after their daughter Luna was born with a heart condition that meant she required lifesaving surgery.  They hope to continue with a range of events and activities that will help buy further equipment, saving the lives of many other children from across the north east and UK. 

Sergio, who also has a son, Enzo, said: “Sunday was an emotional day.  It was absolutely incredible to see so many people turn up to support us, and donate their hard-earned cash.  I had tears in my eyes the whole day. 

“The praise we received for the quality of the event was equally incredible.  At the end of the day, this is just me and my wife, trying to do something to give back to a team that has done something so amazing for our family. 

“It’s been an unbelievable journey, since we started fundraising.  This all started with me offering to give some money personally to the team at the Freeman Hospital after wanting to do something to thank them for all they have done.  And it’s grown from there.  It’s been amazing and it’s so nice to know you’re making such a big difference. 

The Organ Care System that the couple hope to buy for CHUF will allow donated organs – particularly for heart transplants – to remain viable for up to 24 hours.  Current machines can only keep a heart healthy for only four hours. 

CHUF is one of only two units in the UK supporting babies and children who require heart transplants. Over 300 children each year are cared for at the heart unit, 20 will receive heart transplants and over 7,000 will return for outpatient visits.  10% of the youngsters under treatment are from the Wearside area.  

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