CARING children have joined the battle against heart disease on Wearside.
Pupils at Highfield Community Primary School, in Fordfield Road, Ford Estate, have raised £1,542.24, for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Michael Roper, 61, who has suffered from heart problems for the past 15 years, is branch secretary of Sunderland BHF.
Mr Roper, of Pennywell, said: “The school has raised about £400 in each of the last four years, which is just fantastic. It’s phenomenal.
“We just want to say a big ‘thank-you’ for all they have done for us.
“For a primary school to do that for us is amazing.
“Last year we raised more than £17,000, so for a school to do this is a big help.”
Mr Roper and wife Carol spoke of the need to keep the public aware of the importance of being heart healthy.
It was just a few weeks ago that Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed during an FA Cup match with Tottenham Hotspur.
Players were left stunned as the midfielder lay stricken on the pitch after a cardiac arrest.
Zaire-born midfielder Muamba was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as well as 15 defibrillator shocks before he reached hospital.
The 23-year-old’s heart stopped for almost 90 minutes, but he has managed to pull through and is now on the road to recovery at the London Chest Hospital.
Mrs Roper, 57, said: “Even I was shocked to see that happen to a young and fit lad.
“He ‘died’ on the pitch for a certain length of time, but thankfully, through all the research doctors have done, the paramedics to be able to save his life.”
Mr Roper added: “This is why we want to get defibrillators into public places, which is something the BHF has been calling for for a long time.
“It’s because they save lives.”
To find out more about the Sunderland branch of the British Heart Foundation email Mr Roper at firstname.lastname@example.org.