A Sunderland-based heart charity has launched a fundraising appeal for vital equipment, which could be a “game changer” for newborn babies.

Red Sky Foundation raises money and provides support to cardiac-related causes across the North East, helping babies, children and adults living with heart conditions.

And now it is calling on the public to help it raise £70,000 to purchase an FDR Go Mobile machine for the Neo-Natal Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital.

At present, newborn babies are transported through the hospital to the general x-ray department, but this machine will enable medics to carry out x-ray scans on their tiny hearts and organs at the cot side.

Slimline and easily manoeuvred around the ward, it can also provide instant results and diagnostics, speeding up the delivery of treatment with the minimum of disturbance to the babies and their families.

Red Sky Foundation was founded by Sergio and Emma Petrucci after their daughter, Luna, now eight underwent open heart surgery at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, just days before her second birthday in 2015.

So far, they have raised close to £400,000, helping to fund two state-of-the-art echo machines for Sunderland Royal Hospital and James Cook Hospital along with a specialist organ transplant machine which keeps a donor heart healthy for longer giving surgeons more time to perform a transplant.

And now Sergio, who has started the ball rolling with a £10,000 grant, hopes the public will help the Foundation raise the further £60k needed to purchase the equipment.

“It sounds like a lot of money because it is a lot of money,” he said, “but if 60,000 people each gave just £1 then we could do it.”

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