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Welsh Hearts holding charity ball in aid of teenager Jack Thomas

Welsh Hearts, a local heart charity are holding a fundraising ball in aid of Oakdale teenager Jack Thomas who died after suspected heart failure in February 2012. The ball will be raising money in memory of the Jack Thomas Defibrillator Appeal for all schools in Gwent, Caerphilly, The Rhymney Valley, Monmouth and Chepstow. 

The King and Queen of Hearts Summer Ball will be held in Newport on the day after what would have been Jack’s 18th birthday. Jack’s mother Mrs. Thomas said her son would have loved the idea of celebrating a birthday landmark in such a way. She said:

Jack would have been having a big party or out celebrating with his friends. He was a party animal and I remember he used to drag his friends into every house party going!

Sharon Owen of Welsh Hearts phoned me out of the blue to say the ball could be arranged for June 7 – I couldn’t believe it because that would have been a day after his 18th birthday. It will be a celebration of Jack’s life and will hopefully raise money as well.

Welsh Hearts Charity Director Sharon Owen said:

The event will be a great way of raising money for the appeal and awareness of our wider Dai Fib Appeal which aims to provide defibrillators for communities, workplaces, schools and organisations across Wales.  With access to more defibrillators, Welsh Hearts can help our partners in the emergency services to improve chances of survival and protect our communities. Someone in cardiac arrest will lose consciousness, will not be breathing and will have no signs of circulation. A defibrillator is used to shock the heart following a cardiac arrest.

Tickets for the event are £45 each and include a sparkling drinks reception, a three-course dinner and entertainment. It will be held at the Hilton Newport Hotel on Chepstow Road, Langstone, NP18 2LX. People are being encouraged to arrive at 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

To book tickets contact Welsh Hearts Fundraising Office on 02920 786521 or email fundraising@welshhearts.org.

Join Wales Rugby player Lloyd Burns on charity “Gavin 2 Stacey” bike ride

EX-Wales rugby player Lloyd Burns, whose mother was saved by a heart defibrillator, is urging people in Wales to get together and fundraise for Welsh Hearts Charity’s “Dai Fib Appeal.” The Dai Fib Appeal is raising money for defibrillators and cardiac equipment through-out Wales. Lloyd will be taking part in the Gavin 2 Stacey bike ride to raise money for welsh Hearts and has also become a Patron for the charity.

Lloyd Burns, whose own career was cruelly cut short after suffering a ruptured artery in his neck, nearly lost his mother Katerene after she suffered a cardiac arrest seven years ago.

Lloyd Burns said:

My mother was basically saved by a defibrillator, hence the reason why I want to help as much as I can to get defibrillators into as many places as possible in Wales. Welsh Hearts is a great charity for me to support and I am delighted to be a Patron for this reason and I want to help raise as much money as possible to fund their life saving work.

After years as a semi-professional with Cross Keys, Burns broke into the Newport Gwent Dragons squad and then Wales, taking part in the 2011 World Cup, in a rags-to-riches story. But during a routine scrummaging session, his meteoric rise came to an abrupt halt after suffering the neck injury with tests revealing he himself might one day need heart surgery. Further tests had discovered damage to the aorta – the     largest artery in the body – meaning he had to quit with immediate effect in April 2012 at the age of 27. The seven-time capped Burns says he still finds it hard to watch Wales “like you wouldn’t believe”. Now 29, he coaches youngsters at Pontypool schools.

As part of Lloyds role as Patron for Welsh Hearts he is taking part in the Gavin 2 Stacey bike ride from Billericay in Essex to Barry on Friday 22nd August to Sunday 24th August. If anyone would like to join Lloyd on this 250 mile ride and support Welsh Hearts with their Defibrillator Appeal then please get in touch with Welsh Hearts Fundraising Office on 02920 786521 or email fundraising@welshhearts.org

Lloyd continued to explain that:

“Since having to retire from rugby prematurely I have found cycling to be a great release and a great way of exercising. I feel that now is a good time for me to do some charity work and support Welsh Hearts.”    

For more information on Welsh Hearts www.welshhearts.org welshhearts.org/daifib