Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How CHUF Has Raised Millions of Pounds for a Fantastic Cause; Parents Join Campaign and Pay Tribute to The

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How CHUF Has Raised Millions of Pounds for a Fantastic Cause; Parents Join Campaign and Pay Tribute to The

Article excerpt

FOR more than three decades the region's children's heart unit has been strongly supported by a local charity. The Children's Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) provides cash for ward 23 and the paediatric intensive care unit at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital which nurses babies and youngsters through their difficult treatment.

The charity is a integral part of the Freeman's unit and is backed by many unpaid volunteers.

Over the years it has helped fund lifesaving equipment, such as a pounds 76,000 portable echo machine which has made the lives of child patients and their families easier as it enables the cardiologist to go to other hospitals to assess some children, rather than every child having to travel to the Freeman.

CHUF funds also enabled the artificial heart programme to start in the late 1990s and still makes an important contribution to the programme, having funded specialist monitoring equipment to enable the current devices to be used more safely.

Its latest venture involves the building of a 20-bedroom house in the grounds of the Freeman, which will provide a home-fromhome for the families of sick children who are receiving intensive treatment at the unit.

But the project, which CHUF has raised pounds 1m for, is currently on hold as the future of the children's heart unit hangs in the balance as NHS Safe and Sustainable carry out its nationwide review.

If it's decided surgery at the unit should stop, then sadly the future of CHUF will also be in grave danger.

Susan Jackson, president of CHUF, said: "CHUF is a fantastic charity and the money raised helps fund expensive equipment that is used to help save the lives of many children.

"The money raised by our volunteers means CHUF can also sponsor some members of the medical team, a child psychologist and fund research projects.

"I do welcome the review into children's heart services in the country as I feel it's important. However, I am concerned about the future of the Freeman's unit and also that of the charity. …

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