Putting heart and soul into annual appeal

Preparing to hit the streets for the Big Heart Appeal are volunteers (back row, from left)...
Preparing to hit the streets for the Big Heart Appeal are volunteers (back row, from left) Rosemary Gibson, heart health advocate Marthy Cloake, Fay Edgeler, Jan McMillan, Maureen Skillander, Jeanette Gollins and Lorraine South, and (front row) John McKissock and Janice Higinbottom. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Big-hearted volunteers will be out in full force this month as part of the Big Heart Appeal.

The nationwide appeal is the Heart Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Timaru’s heart health advocate Marthy Cloake would be among the street collectors who were giving their time to collect vital funds for heart research.

Mrs Cloake said supporting the Heart Foundation was crucial, because it truly was a lifesaver.

"Many people have to contend with heart issues, and nearly everyone knows someone who’s had heart problems.

"It’s important people are aware help is available for them, and they should never be afraid to ask for assistance or get checked out."

Mrs Cloake, who has been involved with the foundation for the past 24 years, will be co-ordinating the Timaru-based volunteers.

"It is remarkable to see how much the Heart Foundation has contributed to improving heart surgery over the years, but there is still more to be done."

Heart Foundation medical director Dr Gerry Devlin saidheart disease could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Dr Devlin said with heart disease claiming the life of one New Zealander every 90 minutes, donating to the street collection was a vital way people could help in the fight against the country’s single biggest killer.

"Sadly, the gains we were seeing in heart disease have slowed down and we’re now seeing an increase in numbers globally, including more young people being affected."

As a heart health advocate, Mrs Cloake can also provide guidance and support to those living with a heart condition in Timaru.

She recommended people get in touch if they had any questions about their heart health or how they could help during the Big Heart Appeal street collection.

Heart Foundation volunteers will be collecting on February 23 and 24.