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Pippa Middleton supports BHF Christmas Appeal to help fight congenital heart disease

Calum Morris, 11, from Bristol, who was born with a heart defect with Pippa Middleton BHF

Press release issued: 6 December 2017

British Heart Foundation (BHF) Ambassador Pippa Middleton paid young heart patients a surprise visit after pledging her support for the charity's Christmas Appeal, spending yesterday morning [Tuesday 4 December] at the paediatric cardiac ward at Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital to cheer up patients and listen to the many inspirational stories of young people living with a heart condition

Pippa, who has been supporting the BHF for over three years also met some of the BHF's world leading researchers in the field of congenital heart disease, to find out how they're saving young lives with their breakthroughs.  This included the newly appointed BHF Professor of congenital heart disease Professor Massimo Caputo from the University of Bristol.  He and his team are trying to find ways to stop the hearts of children and babies becoming damaged during heart surgery.

Each year, around 4,000 babies, are diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in the UK – that's 12 babies every day with many more diagnoses later in life. Sadly around 400 of those children die each year before they reach school age.

Pippa is supporting the BHF's Christmas Appeal which aims to raise over half a million pounds towards pioneering research into congenital heart disease. 

Pippa Middleton said at the hospital: "It was a huge honour to spend time with such brave children and their peers to hear about their challenging journeys. I was hugely impressed by the extraordinary work being done by the medical team. Their sheer determination and positive energy was inspiring. It was also fascinating to learn about the pioneering research that the BHF is funding thanks to the public's generosity, which will help transform the lives of children like those I have met today.

"Thousands of children are living with congenital heart disease in the UK, so the need for research is more urgent than ever.  I would urge everyone to support the BHF's Christmas Appeal, to help give every child born with a congenital heart condition hope for the brightest possible future." 

BHF Professor Massimo Caputo, from the University's Bristol Heart Institute and Bristol Medical School: Translational Health Sciences,  added: "Congenital heart disease is drastically under-researched. While there has been great progress in the treatment of heart conditions in young patients, there are still thousands living with the burden of these terrible conditions, and hundreds each year who sadly don't survive. It's fantastic that Pippa took the time to visit the hospital and spend time with such brave and inspiring children. It brought a real smile to their faces, which is so nice to see, especially a couple of weeks before Christmas."

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the BHF said of Pippa's involvement: "Sadly, many tiny hearts will be struggling this Christmas. But the support of Pippa Middleton and the thousands of families affected by heart disease will make a huge difference to our Christmas Appeal. With the public's support we can find new ways to prevent and support families who have to go through the heartache of bringing up a child with congenital heart disease – the best possible Christmas present."

Visit to find out more about the BHF's Christmas Appeal. 

Further information

About the BHF
For over 50 years we've pioneered research that's transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives.

About Bristol Heart Institute
Bristol Heart Institute is one of seven Specialist Research Institutes (SRIs) designed to reflect the University of Bristol's strength and depth in key specialisms. The institute is a world-leading centre for translational cardiovascular research and the leading academic cardiac surgery centre in the UK. Specialising in preventing, predicting, detecting, reducing and treating cardiovascular disease, it brings together scientists and clinicians from across the University and the NHS in Bristol; training the next generation of cardiovascular scientists and clinical academics.

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