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Charity Overview

@Heart provides lifelong care to New Zealand families affected by or living with a congenital or childhood heart defect. Support is vital for those affected, helping them cope with the day-to-day challenges of living with a childhood heart condition. @Heart aims to ensure that no Heart family ever walks their journey alone. @Heart help every step of the way – from diagnosis through childhood, the teenage years and into adulthood.

Project Summary

ICAP’s donation from Charity Day 2012 has enabled @Heart to continue its practical and emotional support to families living with the impact of a serious heart condition.  Its ‘Murmurs’ monthly gatherings provide huge support for young families particularly as they head off to the Starship Children’s Hospital or return after their child’s heart surgery.  Through ICAP’s donation Wellington @Heart has been able to increase its group locations enabling more families to access this vital support network.

ICAP NZ's donation has made a huge difference to our charity this year. We have been able to extend our services in ways we have only been able to dream about. By spending this time together with other heart teens from around the country, the teens are able to feel connected to others who understand what it means to live with a congenital heart condition and share coping strategies and feelings. This is a safe environment for them to develop confidence, independence and to make lifelong friendships.
Emma Lawler, @Heart Wellington

For many young children suffering with a congenital heart defect, participation in everyday activities isn’t always possible. With ICAP’s support, @Heart was able to send six teenagers and one cardiac nurse to attend the annual Teen Beat Camp held at the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre in Auckland, and also host a weekend long Family Camp at El Rancho in Waikanae at the end of 2013. More than 200 visitors benefited from the activities, which included rock wall climbing, orienteering, go-karts, archery, horse riding, river tubing and swimming. These events enable families to meet others whose children have similar health issues and remains a vital support network for the @Heart families.

In addition, ICAP’s donation has enabled @Heart to create a new initiative for families, a Hospital Survival Pack. These packs are given to families when they arrive at hospital for surgery. They contain luxury items and all the necessities for a hospital visit. One family said “When I opened the box I couldn’t believe this was all for us. It means so much to us as we are on one income due to our child’s health. We couldn’t afford these luxuries, to know someone is thinking of us, it was the perfect pick me up at this very stressful time in our lives, thank you so much.”

Recently Wellington @Heart held a memorial service for their “heart angels” which provides an opportunity for families to gather, and share what they have been through.  A balloon was released for each child that has been lost.  Emma Lawler from @Heart Wellington said “We haven't done this for a number of reasons over the past couple of years and we hope that it is now back in our calendar, largely thanks to ICAP.”