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Long-time Heart Foundation volunteer has heart event

When Barry Eastwick started volunteering as a street collector for the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal, it was out of the goodness of his heart.

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.

“I first got involved with the Heart Foundation almost ten years ago as the secretary of a community group,” he recalls. “Eastgate Shopping Centre called me to say that the Heart Foundation was holding a street collection. They wanted to know if anyone would be interested in helping out. So I said, ‘Well, I will,’ and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Barry can attest to how much fun volunteers have on the day. “When I arrived in my first year, I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed myself,” he says. “Lots of people stop to talk to you and share their stories about how heart disease affects them or their families. People appreciate what the Heart Foundation do, so chatting with them meant the time just flew by.”

Tragic heart attack followed by hospitalisation

This year, his participation in the Big Heart Appeal street collection on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February 2023, has taken on much more personal meaning. Sadly, Barry lost his beloved wife to a sudden heart attack in 2022. Then, only two days following her funeral, Barry was hospitalised himself.

“My heart was racing,” he says. “Then, suddenly, my heart stopped for 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 life than ever. I’m very, very happy to help.”

A couple of hours of volunteering can help your community

As a volunteer area coordinator, Barry wants to encourage others to join him in supporting this worthy cause.

“It’s only a couple of hours out of my life, which is very easy to give,” he says. “It’s also really nice to see parents giving their kids a bit of money to put in the bucket, and they come up with a big smile on their face. I put stickers on their wrists, and I really love the mixing and social aspect of it all.”

Barry believes everyone can do good. He will continue showing his big heart as an area coordinator for the Big Heart Appeal street collection for years to come.

“It’s really amazing to see everyone come together,” he says. “And sometimes the people you least expect to donate put money in your bucket. The people in our area are so nice and really involved with the community.”

Heart disease is New Zealand’s single biggest killer, claiming the lives of more than one person every 90 minutes. Heart disease can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. But by coming together and volunteering in the community, we can raise vital funds for life-saving heart research.

Please visit if you’d like to volunteer as a street collector for the Big Heart Appeal on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February.