We were delighted to welcome supporters of our Helping Little Heartbeats appeal to a special event at Lister Hospital where the equipment that the appeal funded was unveiled.

The Helping Little Heartbeats appeal was launched in February 2021 to raise £70,000 to buy equipment – a GE Vivid cardiovascular ultrasound machine, a portable echo cardiogram machine and oxygen saturation monitors – so that children with heart conditions could be treated locally at Lister by a specialist paediatric team, instead of having to travel to London.

The appeal reached its target thanks to support from the local community, council funding and grants from trusts and foundations. Supporters invited to the event included representatives from Crane Building Services, The Chaldean Charitable Trust and Hertfordshire County Council.

Dr Will Topping, consultant cardiothoracic radiologist at Lister Hospital, supported the appeal by taking on a 10k run with his sister to raise funds.

Dr Topping said: “I had personal experience of my children having to visit the adult cardiology department for some tests. We shouldn’t be asking children who might be unsettled or frightened about visiting a hospital to visit adult departments.

“As a doctor and a dad, I’d like to thank everyone who supported the appeal and has helped us provide this equipment so we can treat children here at Lister Hospital by our experienced paediatric team.”

Consultant paediatrician Dr Anshoo Dhelaria added: “This equipment now forms the backbone of our paediatric cardiology services and children can be diagnosed here at the Lister without the additional distress to them and their families of having to be referred to London.

“It will not only be used in emergencies, but also for inpatient and outpatient children’s services. It will also be used as a crucial diagnostic test in children with rare heart conditions that have emerged due to Covid.

“The equipment will make a huge difference to our children – thank you to everyone who helped us pay for it.”

Eloise Huddleston, our charity director, said: “It was lovely to welcome some of the supporters of the appeal and thank them in person for helping to provide equipment that will save families having to travel into London for treatment. Their kind support will be helping little heartbeats for years to come.”