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Joseph Parker raises awareness and funds for Heart Kids

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Joseph Parker may’ve lost his bout against Dillian Whyte, but he’s about to take on a fight for another cause - the 12 babies born every week in New Zealand with a heart defect.

The New Zealand heavyweight boxer will join families, clubs, sports teams, CEO’s and other celebrities at the annual 360Heart Kids Heart Stopper Challenge on Thursday August the 9th at La Cigale, Parnell, Auckland.

The event raises awareness and funds for Heart Kids, the charity that supports the ‘born fighters’. A congenital heart defect (CHD) is the most common serious birth abnormality in New Zealand and there is no way to prevent it or cure it. It is also the number one cause of death in infants and babies.

The 360Heart Stopper Challenge has been running for more than 15 years and was the idea of a father whose child was born with a CHD. It involves sitting in a tub, chilled to 10 degrees for 360 seconds and represents how the heart is sometimes packed with ice during a heart operation.

Heart Kids is the only organisation in New Zealand dedicated to providing lifelong care and support for children, young people and families impacted by childhood heart defects (CHD).

Joseph Parker says he has a personal connection to Heart Kids, when a friend’s child was born with a CHD. "This is just a small thing I can do to raise awareness for a charity that does big things for these ‘born fighters’. I’m also mindful that rates of Rheumatic Heart Disease are far too high, especially in Maori and Pasifika communities. Heart Kids provides great support to those children and families affected by RHD."

Joseph Parker will be joined by a number of other celebrities including Suzy Cato, Matt Tatton-Brown, David Seymour, Marama Fox and Roger Farrelly. The Dancing with the Stars contestants are swapping their gowns and suits for swimmers and other costumes as they take the plunge for Heart Kids.

Heart Kids CEO Rob Lutter says each year, 600 families have a newborn heart child enter their lives, and they need someone nearby who can listen and offer practical advice and share information, and they need to know they are not alone.

"We also support those families whose children are diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease. The fact that New Zealand still has the highest rate of Rheumatic fever in the OECD is a national disgrace."

"This preventable illness puts all our health services under strain and extreme pressure on families, many of whom are struggling."

The August 9th Heart Stopper event at La Cigale in Auckland launches the beginning of the 360Heart Stopper Challenge season with events taking place around the country.

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