The real stars of the Children’s Heart Unit Fund have helped to launch a new charity run day.
Young heart patients from the borough were on hand to officially launch the CHUF Heart and Sole Run in Jesmond, which will take place on Sunday, June 15.
CHUF is hoping to attract 800 entrants over three distances – 1.5k, 5k and 10k – for its inaugural run, starting from Paddy Freeman Park and continuing through Jesmond Dene.
And young patients joined CHUF trustee and Monkseaton resident Ivan Hollingsworth, and TV star Ben Shephard to officially launch the new event.
Amanda White from Wallsend, attended the launch with her seven-year-old son Harry, who has pulmonary atresia.
“Harry was diagnosed two days after birth, and he had his first operation at four days old,” she said.
“In 2010 he had a cardiac arrest and the doctors at the Freeman helped him through that, so we really wanted to do something to say thank you.
“Before Harry we didn’t know about the unit or about CHUF and it’s right on our doorstep, so we want to raise awareness and make the unit sustainable.”
Ellie Breadmore, from Campville, North Shields, whose four-year-old daughter Daisy Haggerston has several holes in her heart, will be taking part in the run as a thank you to the staff at the Freeman hospital.
“Daisy has had open heart surgery and needs more done, and we really wanted to get involved in this because of Daisy,” she said.
“Everyone at the Freeman is fantastic, and we have never had any bother.
“I did the Great North Run for CHUF, and I hope people will get involved in this and raise awareness of CHUF.”
Ashley Longstaff’s daughter Molly Jackson, four, has pulmonary atresia, and has already had open heart surgery twice.
Ashley, from Forest Hall, said: “We know Molly will have to have further surgery in the future as she grows, and the Freeman have always been so good with her, it’s nice to be able to take part in the run and raise money for the unit that looks after her.”
CHUF trustee Ivan Hollingsworth, from Monkseaton, whose son Seb was born with tetralogy of falot, said: “This is probably the most ambitious event that we have put on for CHUF, and it’s great because it gets everyone involved.
“There’s a 1.5k, a 5k and a 10k, so everyone can take part in some way and help raise awareness and funds for CHUF.
“We really need people to sign up and take part and show what CHUF is all about.”
And television star Ben Shephard, who has known Ivan since childhood, added: “Seb is alive now because of the work that the Freeman and the children’s heart unit do, and as a father I can appreciate how important that is.
“Kids and adults can all take part in the different lengths of races, and it’s going to be a really family day, it should be excellent.”
Aswell as the run, there will be various activities, stalls and attractions.
For more details visit www.CHUFheartandsole.co.uk or follow @CHUFHeartSole on Twitter.