Message from Heart Foundation Medical Director, Dr. Gerry Devlin

 

Gerry Devlin

Heart disease is New Zealand's single biggest killer and it can affect anyone. It’s important we share the stories and the good outcomes that are made possible through incredible advances in the treatment of heart disease.

We’ve made great progress in improving the heart health of New Zealanders, but we still have much more work to do with heart disease remaining the leading cause of death and ill health in our communities.

Funds raised through the Big Heart Appeal will ensure we can continue to support training for the next generation of heart health professionals and researchers and investigate potential transformational treatments for those living with heart disease.

Last year we invested more than $4 million into funding for a number of exciting research projects including investigation into a pacemaker that mimics the hearts of elite athletes, a new blood test that will predict imminent heart attacks and ‘living drugs’ to regenerate damaged heart tissue. 

The Big Heart Appeal street collection has been cancelled again this year, so we need your help now more than ever so that we can continue to save lives by funding life-saving heart research. Please donate today.

Thank you for your support.


Heart disease can affect anyone

Heart issues can happen to anyone at any time of their lives. Some of those affected are young and fit and never expected heart disease to be a part of their lives. Hear from some of our storytellers who share their heart-warming stories and the importance of funding life-saving heart research.

Kerri is a young woman in her twenties. She has long, fair hair and is wearing a pretty summer dress in a peach colour. She is standing in front of the camera with a ghost of a smile on her lips, like she is a bit shy to be photographed.

Challenging times for pregnant mum

 

Heart troubles were the last thing young and healthy Kerrie expected, but at 12 weeks pregnant, she experienced a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

“It never crossed my mind that the pain I felt could have been caused by a heart problem,” she says. “I was more concerned that it was to do with my pregnancy.”

Read Kerrie's story

DJ and dancer’s hidden heart condition

 

In 2021, Lance became a household name when he starred in Celebrity Treasure Island.

However, his credentials go beyond reality TV and into music, dance and choreography where he has shared the stage with international icons like Beyoncé, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez.

Lance has a heart condition called supraventricular tachycardia or SVT, which he says ”makes his heart beat really fast.”

Read Lance's story
Lance Savali is wearing a pastel fluffy cardigan and is turned towards the camera, laughing.

Duane is a youngish man (late thirties, early forties). he is wearing a blue shirt and is looking straight to camera, smiling.

Twin survival story

 

Duane and his identical twin brother were both born with a rare heart abnormality and were saved by an Australasian-first operation as babies. The procedure had never been done in this part of the world, so the chances of survival were considered very low.

At three months old, Duane's twin brother turned blue and was rushed to the hospital. The outlook wasn’t good. 

Read Duane's story

Busy grandmother grateful for every day

 

The first Claire knew of her heart attack was a sense of overwhelming tiredness. Three days later she was in hospital having life-saving bypass surgery.

Claire Elliot describes how she didn't think she was having a heart attack because her symptoms were not immediately obvious.

Read Claire's story
Claire is a senior lady wearing a white and pink floral shirt. She is seated on a stool and looking into the camera smiling.

Bruce is an older man in his fifties. He is making the shape of a heart with his hands.

Giving thanks for life

 

Bruce Andrews' first encounter with heart disease happened as a teenager when his hard-working, fit, super-dad died suddenly at age 59 of a heart attack.

“I was a teenager, heartbroken and had to leave school to help provide for my mum,” he says.

Bruce was then diagnosed with heart disease himself at 49 - he had Angina and two clogged arteries.

Read Bruce's story

No. 1
Heart disease is the single biggest killer of men and women
90 mins
Every 90 minutes a New Zealander dies of heart disease
170,000
people are living with heart disease
$82m
The Heart Foundation has invested into research since 1968