Take the ‘Make a Difference Mile’ challenge to help a heart child this weekend

29th June 2010 

Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is urging local people to help veteran runner,Paul Willgoss, make a final push to the finishing line of his twelve-month long-distance campaign to raise money for children with a heart condition by taking the ‘Make a Difference Mile’ challenge at the East Midlands Designer Outlet on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July. The charity, which hopes that at least 133 miles will be covered during the event, invites visitors to the complex to complete the distance by any safe means possible, including jogging on treadmills, bouncing on space hoppers, doing ‘keepie uppies’ with balloons (covering the distance on the spot) and walking around the centre – with an egg and spoon for those who want a higher degree of difficulty. CHF is asking shoppers to make a donation or get their friends to sponsor them to take part in the challenge; all proceeds raised will go to help heart children and their families through CHF welfare grants, information service and family events.

This event is the final strait for Paul Willgoss, a trustee of CHF who was born with a heart condition and has devoted the last year to covering over 1500 miles to raise money for children with cardiac problems. Paul, who received an MBE from the Queen in June for his services to charity, explains why he is relying on local people to help him make a push to the finishing line of his challenge.

Paul declares;

“During the past year, I have been all over the country in marathons and shorter runs to encourage people with a heart condition – and members of the public in general – to take a positive step for their own health and raise money for vital help for the families of heart children. When you’re near the end of your race, the support of other people can boost you to give your absolute best. It seemed right to come to the heart of the country for the finale of my year-long challenge – and I’d love some company on the way to the winning line!”

East Midlands Designer Outlet employee, Rachel, whose son Josh aged 3 has a complex heart problem, had the idea to invite CHF to hold an event at the complex. The charity ran activities at the centre in May for national Children’s Heart Week and have come back because of the warm of the reception from local people and the team at the Outlet.

“One in every 133 babies, like my Josh, is born with a heart defect,” explains Rachel, “but congenital heart disease is not much in the public eye. I thought by holding some family-friendly events in a familiar public place, like the Designer Outlet, people could learn more about congenital heart disease at first hand while having fun.”

CHF Family Services Manager, Samantha Johnson, observes, “We’re hoping that local people will cover at least 133 miles over the weekend, to reflect the number of children born with a heart condition. It’s great if people want to tackle the Make a Difference Mile challenge in teams, breaking up the mile into smaller chunks so everyone can have a go.”

CHF calculates that a ‘spacehopper mile’ is 2000 hops and that three circuits of the centre covers the same distance. Everyone who joins in will receive a medal and a goodie bag and will have the satisfaction that they have been part of making miles of difference to families of children with a heart defect.

— Ends —

Media enquiries to: Samantha Johnson on 020 7422 0630 or samanthaj@chfed.org.uk

Notes for editors

  1. Children’s Heart Federation (www.chfed.org.uk) is the leading national charity and umbrella organisation for groups supporting children and young people with congenital and acquired heart conditions.
  2. The charity runs a freephone information service on 0808 808 5000 open Monday to Friday 9.30am -4.30pm.
  3. Congenital heart disease is the most common birth defect in the UK affecting one in 133 babies – around 5000 each year.
  4. Paul Willgoss’ blog (http://walkingforheartkids.blogspot.com) gives details of his year-long challenge.