HARTLEPOOL has signed up for a unique campaign which could help scores of heart disease victims.
In a unique tie-up announced today, the town officially became the only British Heart Foundation (BHF) Heart Town in the North at a time when more than 100 people are still dying of heart disease in Hartlepool each year.
Town officials today vowed to do all they can to beat heart disease.
And thanks to Hartlepool’s help, experts might be able to repair damaged hearts for the first time – and do it within the next 10 years.
Mayor Stuart Drummond said: “Hartlepool still has a high level of heart disease and related illnesses, and this campaign provides the perfect platform to raise awareness of what people can do to improve their health and prolong their lives.”
He added: “I’m delighted that Hartlepool is one of the first towns to pledge its support to this important campaign.
“As a council, we are always striving to improve people’s health and this initiative forms part of our commitment to the local community.”
The deal will see Hartlepool officially become a Heart Town which means more will be done communities together through local fundraising and volunteering as well as raising awareness of heart disease and offering residents a raft of support services including to bring people together in fundraising.
Communities, schools and workplaces will all be encouraged to raise money as well as awareness about health and lifestyle.
And if everything goes to plan, the BHF hopes to have raised £50m for research to repair damaged hearts.
Hartlepool is one of the first towns in the country – and the first in the North – to become a BHF Heart Town.
Hartlepool Borough Council has teamed up with the BHF as part of the charity’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal which has been launched to mark its 50th anniversary, this year.
BHF volunteer fundraising manager in Hartlepool Fiona Turner said:
“We are delighted that Hartlepool Borough Council has decided to become a Heart Town.
“There are many activities and events happening throughout the year that local people can get involved in.
“We will be working with the Hartlepool community to raise awareness of heart disease and raise money for the BHF’s Mending Broken Hearts Appeal.”
The number of people dying of heart disease, which includes heart attacks, in Hartlepool has fallen from 229 in 1994 to 112 in 2008.
But that means more people are surviving and living with heart disease.
Fiona added: “There is no cure for a broken heart. This ground-breaking research can change that and help researchers learn how to teach the heart to ‘heal itself’.
“In order to do this the charity needs to spend £50m on the research to repair damaged hearts.
“The hope is, if it can get the money, it could be funding trials with heart failure patients in as little as five years.
“That’s why Hartlepool’s support is so vital.”