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We're delighted to announce Heart Link as our corporate charity of the year - after it provided lifesaving heart surgery to our MD Adrian Buttress’ granddaughter just days after she was born.
River Mai Bishop was born on 7 July 2019; just eight days later she had a major seven-and-a-half-hour operation at the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital, in Leicester, to enlarge her heart.
Adrian and his family received extensive support from Heart Link, making the decision to name them our first official charity even more special.
We've kickstarted our backing of Heart Link by donating £2,000. We'll also be supporting the charity in 2020 through various staff events and by donating all funds generated by recycling excess packaging in our new specially purchased compacter.
Adrian said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the work of Heart Link over the next 12 months. It’s important that we back local causes that make a real difference to the lives of others. I know all too well how vital Heart Link’s work is as the charity supported me and my family when my granddaughter was fighting for her life in Glenfield Hospital.
“The staff were simply amazing. The heart surgeon Dr Saeed totally rebuilt River Mai’s heart so now it works perfectly fine. For that, we will owe him forever. The staff on the maternity ward were also outstanding – when it all started going wrong, they kept their nerves and helped River Mai defeat the odds, which were stacked against her.
“River Mai is an absolute joy! She attends Glenfield every six weeks so they can monitor her progress and, so far, everything is going as planned. She’ll be having another operation in the New Year to repair a small hole in her heart and a leaking valve that was purposely left from the first surgery. Naturally, we’re not looking forward to it but there is such a supportive environment at the hospital and that provides us with great comfort.
“When we announced our new initiative to our employees, they were keen to get involved and have already started talking about possible ways of raising money, including holding bake sales and embarking on sponsored walks. We also bought a compacter so we could recycle excess packaging as part of our drive to be more sustainable, which has also turned into a good way to collect further funds for Heart Link.”
Heart Link was formed in 1981 as a support group for parents and families who had a child suffering from a heart defect. Over the years, the charity has become increasingly committed to improving facilities for young patients at Glenfield Hospital and their families.
Since it was set up, the charity has collected and raised more than £4 million, which has been used to fund projects and much-needed medical equipment at the hospital.
Gill Smart, who founded Heart Link after her daughter, Amanda, required heart surgery just two days after being born, said: “Glenfield Hospital, or Groby Road as it was known back then, offered no parent accommodation so my husband, Geoff, either slept on the floor or on two chairs that had been pushed together.
“We set out with the aim of helping one family, so for Heart Link to have grown as it has is fantastic. We don’t receive any government funding, so rely entirely on the generosity of the general public and businesses to help us survive.
"We have used donations to purchase everything from vital lifesaving equipment to kettles so visiting families can make themselves a cup of tea. Lots of the patients who are in the care of the hospital will have palliative care all their lives, so we want to provide them with a pleasant and comfortable home away from home to make their stays that little bit easier.
“We cannot thank Adrian and the team at Permaroof enough for making us their chosen charity for 2020. The funds they raise will enable us to continue improving the facilities at the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre for young patients and their families.”
To find out more about Heart Link, please visit www.heartlink-glenfield.org.uk.