Col­lege stu­dents take char­ity plunge

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - COLIN WILLIAMS

Up­per Hutt Col­lege stu­dents took the op­tion of hop­ping into icy cold wa­ter for the best of causes on Oc­to­ber 27.

Fifty stu­dents, along with some staff, were part of a Heart Stop­per Chal­lenge dur­ing what was, thank­fully, a sunny lunchtime.

The fear­less 50, dressed in an ar­ray of out­fits, hit the eight de­gree pad­dling pool wa­ter for five full min­utes in a col­lege ac­tiv­ity into its third con­sec­u­tive year.

The turnout more than dou­bled the num­bers of a year ear­lier, in a top ef­fort from the only school in the Welling­ton re­gion tak­ing up the char­ity chal­lenge.

Fri­day’s event fol­lowed Heart Kids’ rep­re­sen­ta­tives talking at a se­nior as­sem­bly, re­gional fam­ily sup­port co-or­di­na­tor Rachael Hop­kirk said.

‘‘Be­cause they had done it in the past they no­ti­fied us again and we went along,’’ Hop­kirk said.

The pre­sen­ta­tion in­cluded Miles Tif­fen, an 18-month-old Tawa boy born with a heart con­di­tion sup­ported by Heart Kids.

‘‘He’s our am­bas­sador in Welling­ton re­ally,’’ Hop­kirk said.

The Up­per Hutt stu­dents’ ef­fort will re­sult in the Heart Kids Welling­ton char­ity be­ing bet­ter able to sup­port the fam­i­lies of chil­dren born with con­gen­i­tal heart dis- ease. Hop­kirk would like to see more sec­ondary schools take up the char­ity chal­lenge to sup­port the 450 fam­i­lies Heart Kids Welling­ton cur­rently sup­ports. The or­gan­i­sa­tion re­ceives no gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

‘‘Up­per Hutt Col­lege are great and we should be do­ing more in the col­leges but in real­ity there are not enough hours in the day and we are mostly a vol­un­teer or­gan­i­sa­tion.’’

Up­per Hutt Year 12 stu­dent Imisha Greyling was keen to be in­volved af­ter the as­sem­bly.

She was in the pool with five school mates who had all been work­ing hard on their spon­sor­ship ahead of the day.

‘‘When the Heart Kids came and talked to the school it ig­nited the pas­sion to do some­thing ,’’ she said.

‘‘I want to be a pae­di­atric nurse so it all makes sense.’’

Every 14 hours, a heart child is born in this coun­try – that is 12 new ba­bies a week or one heart baby for every 100 live births. Each year, 600 fam­i­lies have a new­born heart child en­ter their lives mak­ing con­gen­i­tal heart dis­ease the most com­mon se­ri­ous birth ab­nor­mal­ity need­ing on­go­ing med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion.

PHOTO: COLIN WILLIAMS/STUFF

Up­per Hutt Col­lege stu­dents turned out in good num­bers for the Heart Stop­per Chal­lenge.

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