Grateful Sunderland couple raise £47,000 for charity which saved daughter’s life

Emma, centre, and Sergio Petrucci, with daughter Luna and son Enzo, and Chris Gray from Chuf.
Emma, centre, and Sergio Petrucci, with daughter Luna and son Enzo, and Chris Gray from Chuf.
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Parents have thanked a charity for saving their daughter’s life – with a cheque for £47,000.

Sergio and Emma Petrucci, from Ashbrooke, raised the cash through a charity ball they organised to help raise funds for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (Chuf) after their daughter Luna underwent life-saving treatment at the unit.

About 400 guests attended The Red Sky Ball at the Stadium of Light, which featured a live auction, a silent auction and a raffle.

Luna Petrucci was just days short of her second birthday when she had to undergo life-saving treatment on two holes in her heart at the Children’s Heart Unit, based at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

The operation, which took place in March last year, was a success and parents Emma and Sergio were so grateful they decided to give something back.

Sergio said: “We still can’t believe it. To have raised £47,000 is beyond all of our wildest expectations.

“The people in the room didn’t stop giving all night and the money just kept coming in. We are so grateful to each and every person who was there.

“It is hard to imagine how it feels to go through what we did with Luna, and it feels so amazing to be able to give something back like this.”

Emma added: “The Children’s Heart Unit at The Freeman Hospital is one of only two units in the country that can carry out paediatric heart surgery of this complexity.

“The teams who look after and support children in a similar situation to Luna are awe-inspiring.

“We feel so honoured to be able to hand this money over to Chuf and it is down to the people in the room on the night that we have achieved it. We just can’t say thank you enough.”

Auction prizes on the night included a VIP spa and Beyoncé package, which raised more than £7,500, and a day in the kitchen with Michelin-starred chef Kenny Atkinson.

Entertainment was provided by stars Lisa Maffia and Romeo of So Solid Crew, alongside local compere Simon Robertson hosting the evening.

Scores of local businesses donated additional prizes for the silent auction and raffle, including a signed Alan Shearer shirt and football boots from Jermaine Defoe.

Other businesses provided support and help for the night, such as Barclays, who counted the money throughout the event.

Chris Gray, head of fundraising for Chuf, said: “Words can not express what a difference this money will make to the unit and its patients and families who we support there.

“The money will be spent on helping more children, just like Luna, achieve their dreams.

“We would like to thank Emma and Sergio from the bottom of our hearts for what they have accomplished.”

l A Just Giving page has been set up for anyone who would like to donate who was not able to attend the event at www.justgiving.com/RedSkyBall.