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Big hearts needed to help raise vital funds for life-saving heart research

Big-hearted volunteers will be out in full force in February 2023 as the Heart Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Big Heart Appeal, kicks off once again on streets across New Zealand.

“Heart disease can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time,” says Heart Foundation Medical Director Dr Gerry Devlin. “To help those living with heart disease, our street collection directly funds our investment in heart research and overseas training for New Zealand cardiologists.”

The Heart Foundation is calling on big-hearted New Zealanders to gift a few hours of their time on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February to volunteer as a street collector for the Big Heart Appeal.

“With heart disease claiming the life of one Kiwi every 90 minutes, volunteering for us is a vital way that you can help in the fight against New Zealand’s single biggest killer,” says Gerry.

“Proceeds from the Big Heart Appeal help fund research grants each year, which enable us to keep making progress on improving heart health for New Zealanders,” says Gerry. “The outcomes for people with heart attacks and other heart conditions have improved dramatically due to the work funded by these grants – resulting in longer and healthier lives for thousands of Kiwis.

“By coming together and volunteering in your community, you can help raise these vital funds for life-saving heart research. It’s a wonderful way to make a difference and help change the lives of people you love.”

Improvements in managing conditions such as heart failure, heart attacks and heart rhythm disorders are examples of some of the advances that have been made to improve heart health outcomes for New Zealanders. They wouldn’t be possible without the generous public donations the Heart Foundation has received.

“We want to continue these incredible advances and enable our researchers, innovators, doctors and nurses to keep shifting the dial to improve heart health for New Zealanders and their families.”

Barry Eastwick will be among the thousands of big-hearted volunteers in Christchurch, giving his time generously to collect vital funds for heart research with a cause greater than most. This year he was hospitalised just two days after his wife’s funeral, who died of a heart attack.

Barry Eastwick and his wife, are shown sitting at a dining table. There are Christmas decorations on the table. The couple are smiling into the camera and Barry has his arm around his wife's shoulders.

“My heart was racing,” he says. “Then, all of a sudden, my heart stopped for a whole seven and a half seconds. I remember the doctor asking the nurse how long it had been, and when she told him, he said to me, ‘Mate, you’re very lucky. You must have something left to do in life.’

“So, now, the Heart Foundation has become much more integral to my own life than it ever was before. I’m very, very happy to help.”

As a volunteer area coordinator, Barry wants to encourage others to support this worthy cause.

“It’s only a couple of hours out of my life, which is very easy to give,” he says. “It’s really amazing to see everyone come together and sometimes the people you least expect to donate put money in your bucket.”

To volunteer as a street collector for the Big Heart Appeal on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February, please visit