Ice chal­lenge a heart stop­per

The Wellingtonian - - Front Page -

Dozens of Welling­to­ni­ans have taken a spring dip for the an­nual Heart Stop­per Chal­lenge, sup­port­ing chil­dren with heart de­fects.

Welling­ton’s Lambton Quay was trans­formed at mid­day on Friday, as of­fice work­ers swapped suits for one­sies and took the plunge into the chilly wa­ter.

The chal­lenge is de­signed to mimic what it is like for a child to have ice wa­ter flushed through their chest cav­ity, which can oc­cur in open heart surgery.

Welling­ton Mayor Justin Lester and his team the Honey Pot He­roes were one of 15 teams to take the plunge at the cen­tral Mid­land Park.

‘‘The idea of the event is that teens get dressed up in fancy dress and they go un­der the ice for six min­utes. This is to hon­our some of the chil­dren who ... have open heart surgery,’’ Heart Kids Welling­ton com­mit­tee mem­ber An­gela Had­don said.

Her daugh­ter Jazmyn Had­don, 17, had open heart surgery when she was seven months old.

She was joined by Lester and to­gether they jumped into the 10 de­gree wa­ter.

He has been a long-time sup­porter of the group which aims to raise aware­ness and funds for kids with heart prob­lems, many of whom have to un­dergo ma­jor surgery at a young age.

‘‘I had a child born pre­ma­turely, not with a heart prob­lem, but I know it is a re­ally im­por­tant time for fam­i­lies,’’ Lester said.

‘‘So any sup­port they can get is well re­ceived.’’

The win­ning Queen Mar­garet Col­lege team hope to de­velop their app fur­ther. DEE WIN­TLE

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