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Support your heart, support your family

Jenny Goss has volunteered for the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal street collection for twenty years, an event that is extremely close to Jenny’s heart. She has seen just how impactful the Heart Foundation’s work is after experiencing her own heart problems two years ago.

Picture of Jenny Goss standing in her back garden. She wears a pink t-shirt and black pants.

“When I was diagnosed with a heart problem,” she says, “having other people to talk to about it all was vital to getting back to my best.”

Shock diagnosis

Jenny had been an active person all her life but failed a routine treadmill test at the outpatient cardiology unit in Wairau hospital. After running some tests, her doctor discovered that her heart wasn’t pumping blood as well as it should.

“Both my mother and father suffered from heart disease,” she recalls. “But it was still a shock when I was told I had heart failure.”

Giving back to the community

Jenny volunteers her own time every month to run a community group dedicated to the wellbeing of those with a heart condition or who have experienced a heart attack, offering support for whānau. 

“The most important things are the little tips and tricks to getting your lifestyle back on track,” she says. “Managing your diet and your medication regime are things that you might not know unless you have someone else who’s been through the same thing to tell you what to do.

“We get together and support each other like a family,” she says. “People like us need this camaraderie, and it would be impossible to get it without the help of the Heart Foundation.”

Mechanical valve replacement for Jenny’s partner

Jenny’s partner, Jim, also needed life-saving heart surgery nine years ago when he had a mechanical valve replacement.

“You can hear it ticking at night, but we’re both used to it now,” Jenny says. “He usually asks people if they want to come and listen to his heart! It’s a good story to tell when I’m collecting for the Heart Foundation.”

Volunteering for the Big Heart Appeal street collection

As a volunteer area coordinator for the Big Heart Appeal street collection, Jenny knows the importance of the Heart Foundation’s work.

“The donations are for a good cause as they go towards funding heart research to help people like us living with a heart condition,” she says.

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 www.heartfoundation.org.nz/sign-up if you’d like to volunteer as a street collector for the Big Heart Appeal on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February.