Sunderland's Red Sky Ball raises more than £100,000 for heart charity

North east surgeons will be able to perform life-saving surgery in war zones such as Ukraine after a Sunderland charity raised more than £100,000.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Red Sky Foundation was established by husband and wife Sergio and Emma Petrucci after their daughter Luna underwent life-saving surgery when she was just a toddler.

Sergio and Emma began fundraising for the Children’s Heart Unit at Newcastle’s Hospital and the foundation has also supported Sunderland Royal Hospital and Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

More recently, the charity has begun to donate community defibrillators, which can be used to help anyone who suffers a cardiac arrest.

Read More
Concerns raised over plan to ‘decommission’ Nightingale Hospital North East in S...

The foundation’s annual fund-raising Red Sky Ball was held at the Beacon of Light on Friday, March 11, and Sergio has been overwhelmed by the result.

He said: “We have raised nearly £113,000 once the costs of staging the event are taken into consideration.

"The auction alone raised almost £40,000 – David Beckham showed his support by sending a personal letter and a shirt.

The event was held at the Beacon of LightThe event was held at the Beacon of Light
The event was held at the Beacon of Light
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“It means we will be able to buy machines for the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman, and for Sunderland neo-natal unit and we will be able to provide equipment for some of the surgeons from the Freeman to be able to go to war-torn countries and perform surgery on children and babies that is urgently needed.”

Entertainment came from soprano Emily Haig.

“She started the evening with the national anthem, then did three more arias, ending with Nessun Dorma, which left the whole room giving her a standing ovation,” said Sergio.

There were also performances from dance group Pocket Rockets and the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra.

Around 1,200 people attendedAround 1,200 people attended
Around 1,200 people attended

Attendees included both cardiac patients and cardiac life-savers, NHS workers and MPs, as well as the Mayor of Sunderland Coun Harry Trueman and guests from as far afield as Texas and Las Vegas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But there was one person Sergio was particularly glad to see.

“The highlight of the banquet was introducing Kenneth Morris,” he added.

"He had a successful heart transplant using equipment bought by the foundation in 2018 and was here to say thank you.

Sergio and Emma PetrucciSergio and Emma Petrucci
Sergio and Emma Petrucci

"He says he owes his life to Red Sky.”

Sergio is delighted with the evening’s results.

“It is just sensational,” he said.

"Thank you to everyone for their support.”

Support your Echo and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue telling Sunderland’s stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe - and click here to get a snapshot of the Echo’s news and sport to your inbox through our email newsletters.

Related topics: