‘Big Surprise’ during Children’s Heart Week

Children’s Heart Federation, a group of charities working to improve the lives of children with a heart condition, invite local people to be part of the ‘Big Surprise’ during Children’s Heart Week, 8-16 May, by holding a ‘Teddy Bear’s Picnic’ or ‘Bring a Bear to Work’ day to raise funds and awareness.

While Election Fever may quickly cool, congenital heart conditions have a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of children. Around 5000 babies are born with a malformation of the heart each year, and two out of three of these will survive beyond infancy.
Many heart children carry the tell-tale scars of surgery, sometimes needing several operations as they grow up, which is why joining the teddies at the picnic will be Mollies Dollies. These boy and girl dolls, given to heart children going into hospital, have embroidered scars to match their owners.
“It’s so easy to focus on the hard side of congenital heart disease,” explains Samantha Johnson of Children’s Heart Federation (CHF). “We wanted to get away from needles, breathlessness and isolation and concentrate on what all children want, regardless of their hearts – a bit of FUN!”
CHF’s National Teddy Bear’s Picnic will be at 2.30-5.30 At Fulham Palace, London, on Sunday 16 May. The charity also has resources to help groups organise their own ‘Big Surprise’ picnic or ‘Bring a Bear to Work’ day.
“No one would describe life with a heart problem as a walk in the park,” asserts Samantha Johnson, “but through the fundraising, fun times and awareness-raising at the Children’s Heart Week picnics, we can all make life a bit brighter for children with heart conditions.”
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Notes for editors:
  1. The Children`s Heart Federation (CHF) is an umbrella body with 22 member organisations dedicated to helping children with congenital or acquired heart disease and their families in the UK and Ireland. CHF provides information and support through its freephone helpline 0808 808 5000, open Monday to Friday and its website www.chfed.org.uk
  2. Congenital heart conditions are the most common birth defect in the UK. Approximately 5000 babies in the UK are born with a heart condition each year, with a further 1000 developing a serious heart problem after birth.