Volunteering for the love of it

Heart disease is the single biggest killer of men and women in New Zealand, and it's dedicated volunteers like Miriam who are making a difference for Kiwis living with heart disease and raising life-saving funds for the Heart Foundation.

MiriamIt was family which first got Miriam involved in the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal three years ago.

The local Motueka resident started volunteering for the Heart Foundation after her husband, Peter, suffered a double bypass, and subsequently 10 stents.

"He started having heart trouble 20 years ago. But when we retired it was the start of more stents," says Miriam.

Peter underwent a double bypass in 2014, after his health started going downhill.

"It took a specialist surgeon in Wellington longer to get the veins out of his legs than it did to actually do the surgery," she says.

Miriam herself has also suffered from angina in the past, but that doesn’t stop her from getting out there and raising awareness about heart disease – New Zealand's single biggest killer.

"I want to show my support for those who are, or have been, affected by heart disease," says Miriam.

This year marks the third year that Miriam has been a Heart Foundation volunteer in her community. The 75-year-old volunteers because she wants to raise awareness for heart disease, but she also does it for the love of it.

"You meet so many wonderful people. We all have so much fun and see so many people in the street, it's so worthwhile."

Miriam is a Volunteer Area Coordinator, a busy role in charge of coordinating the volunteers in her area, but each year she makes sure that she too is out in the community fundraising herself.

"People tell me how grateful they are, but heart disease can happen to anyone, so I say, 'how can I not give my time towards something that can happen to anyone?'"

"I like people and I like talking. But you've got to have things that challenge you and keep you motivated and positive," she says.

Miriam works extremely hard to make sure all volunteers are well taken care of, but she says she's grateful to them for volunteering their time to raise vital funds, which go towards helping people like her husband, Peter.

"Heart disease can happen out of the blue, and no one knows when. Volunteering is so important. It's only for a short time, for some only for one or two hours a year. What's that in the scheme of things?"

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 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.

Big-hearted volunteers like Miriam will be collecting much-needed donations nationwide on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 February.

Show your support by donating to the Heart Foundation Big Heart Appeal and help fund life-saving heart research and specialist training for cardiologists, helping the 170,000 New Zealanders living with heart disease.

You can also make a donation online, or by calling the Heart Foundation on 0800 830 100.

Donate now