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Hearty the rhino stampedes into Southampton General Hospital
THEY may be preparing to be auctioned for charity.
But before the Go! Rhinos sculptures were herded back to Marwell Wildlife earlier this month, Wessex Heartbeat’s small rhino Hearty paid a visit to Ocean ward, the children’s cardiac ward at Southampton General Hospital.
Among the children Hearty visited was four-year-old James Jones from Fareham who was born with a heart condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a condition most commonly affecting premature babies, where the normal connections between the main artery and the aorta fail soon after their birth.
The 97 rhinos spent ten weeks on display across Southampton city centre this summer in celebration of Marwell’s 40th anniversary, before being taken back to the zoo for its Rhinotastic event.
But on October 30 they will be auctioned off at the Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton to raise money for Marwell Wildlife, the Rose Road Association and the Daily Echo-backed Wessex Heartbeat High 5 Appeal to bring a special ward for 16 to 30-year-olds with heart problems to Southampton General Hospital.
The charity is currently trying to raise the final £100,000 needed to bring a new state-of-the art cardiac unit to bridge the gap between children’s and adults’ wards for the thousands of youngsters, like James, born with heart conditions who will need to return to hospital throughout their lives for treatment.
Currently, babies and children are treated at Ocean Ward, but once they turn 16 they have to go to an adult ward where the majority of patients are elderly and have a different form of heart disease.
Youngsters who have been treated in these wards have said they felt frightened, lonely and isolated throughout the duration of their stay, and being treated in these wards can add stress to both the patients and their families.
Money from the auction, as well as generous donations from the public, will help make the ward a reality and improve the hospital experience of thousands of young cardiac patients. Just £5 each from 20,000 readers will be enough to reach the ward’s funding target.
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