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Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal street collection

Show your big heart and support research at the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal street collection, on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 February 2021.

Jean and friend

Jean McLarnon (right)

Heart disease is the single biggest killer of men and women in New Zealand, and the Heart Foundation is calling for people to show their big heart by giving your time in its Big Heart Appeal street collection.

"We have a long and proud record of research investment, which has improved the heart health of all New Zealanders for more than 50 years, but we still have much more work to do. We simply can't do it alone." says Heart Foundation Medical Director, Dr Gerry Devlin.

"It's big-hearted people like Jean McLarnon that can really help us to make a difference," says Gerry.

For Jean being part of the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal is an annual event that she looks forward to. 

At 79-years-old, the Tauranga resident has been collecting for the Heart Foundation for more than eight years, and several years ago took on the role of volunteer Area Coordinator where she organises and looks after volunteers.  

"It's just so much fun, something that I thoroughly look forward to every year. People come up to you and say, 'That's such a good cause you're collecting for,' or 'How kind you are to be doing this'," says Jean.

Jean's mother died from a sudden heart attack at the age of 70, but it was when her partner Bruce had a quadruple by-pass in 2012 that she became involved with the charity. 

"When we came home from hospital I saw adverts to help with collecting, so I got in touch,” says Jean. 

Jean is very grateful to everyone who volunteers a couple of hours during the Big Heart Appeal street collection to raise much-needed funds for the Heart Foundation.  

"I just appreciate them so much for helping me because I couldn't do what I was doing without them. And, I make them feel important, because they are."

She enjoys chatting to donors and often hears about their own heart stories and reasons for supporting the Heart Foundation. She is also happy to talk to passers-by about the organisation’s work and where the donations raised go. 

"Many people will say, 'Well, where does the money go?', so I reply that it's used in New Zealand, and it's used for all of us. I explain to them about Bruce’s experience and that he is alive still because of it," she says. 

"Being part of the appeal really is one of my favourite things to do because you can see the benefits and how grateful the Heart Foundation is for our help."

Jean sees the collecting donations of as a way to help save lives, as "having a bad heart could happen to anyone". 

"You never know when you may have heart problems. It could happen to anyone, or a family member, so it's nice to know that the service is there if we should, unfortunately, need it,” she says. 

Heart Foundation volunteer collectors are urgently needed to collect much-needed funds nationwide on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 February 2021. 

Not only will you be raising life-saving funds for heart research, you'll also be connecting with people in your local community and having fun supporting a cause that really makes a difference. 

It's easy to join, you can choose where and when you volunteer, and you can bring a friend if you like. You'll be among our big-hearted supporters, who share a passion for helping others and safely connecting with people in the community.

You can volunteer by signing up online or by:

Phone: Call us on 0800 244 432

Volunteer for our Big Heart Appeal