The Red Sky Foundation is a real example of how the smallest idea can grow to become something phenomenal and, more importantly, can make a life changing difference to so many people.
This charity was born out of one simple wish, that couple Sergio and Emma Petrucci could give something back to the magnificent team at the Children’s Heart Unit and Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
This unit is nationally recognised and treats young people from across the UK every year – often making the difference between life and death to families.
Sergio and Emma were one of these families, who faced the trauma of their tiny daughter, Luna, having to undergo life-saving heart surgery in 2015.
On the morning of the operation Sergio looked out of his window and saw a red sky, vowing that if his daughter fully recovered he would support the unit in any way he could.
And he made good that promise – initially launching what he would believe would be one event, the Red Sky Ball, to buy vital equipment for the hospital.
Nobody could have anticipated the success of this event nor the money it raised and the Red Sky Ball fast became the “go to” event on the North East social calendar, attracting around 800 people to every event.
That led to the creation of the annual White Party, again a hugely over subscribed Ibiza type daytime shindig which again raised masses of money.
Earlier this year the Red Sky Ball changed its name to the Red Sky Foundation and gained charitable status, allowing it to continue to grow its ambitions and its fund raising initiatives.
While we appreciate there are many, many good causes and only a finite amount of money, becoming a corporate sponsor or supporter of the Red Sky Foundation is a way to give back, to save not just the lives of children but adults across the North East and beyond.
And what is more important than that?
What we’ve raised – and where it’s gone.
To date we’ve raised an incredible £350,000 to buy a variety of equipment and also provide facilities and after care at the Children’s Heart Unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, Sunderland Royal Hospital and the James Cook Hospital, Teesside.
We’ve also purchased a number of defibrillators which are installed at key sites around the region, to be used in those life or death moments when someone has a cardiac arrest and when time is of the essence.
KENNETH “BRIAN” MORRIS – HIS STORY
Military veteran Kenneth Morris is one of a handful of people who have received pioneering transplant surgery at the Freeman Hospital, made possible by the “heart in a box” equipment purchased by the Red Sky Foundation.
This is his story in his own words..
While quietly enjoying a sandwich and a pint of beer my telephone rang, I answered it even though there was no caller ID, something I wouldn’t normally do.
Hi, is that Kenneth This is the transplant co-ordinator from the Freeman,” said a voice.
“Yes,” I said suspiciously.
“Good, Can you make it to the Freeman Hospital as soon as possible we have a heart for you.”
GULP, “Yes I’m on my way”
Not the sort of telephone conversation you expect to have while at Manchester Airport waiting to fly out to Rome to meet your partner, not the first time I had failed to meet her in Rome but a better excuse than I fell asleep and missed my flight – which is what happened last time, this was without doubt a much better excuse.
With a dry mouth and fear running through me like water I set of on a train journey filled with thoughts, fears and doubts as to my real need or whether I was worthy of such a huge offer of life.
This opportunity would not have been possible without the Red Sky Foundation and the skill and professionalism of all of the transplant team at the Freeman Hospital. They were about to embark on the very first D.C.D. – Donation after Circulatory Death – which is where a heart from a deceased person is kept alive thanks to a piece of equipment bought and paid for by the Red Sky Foundation.
I was the volunteer but as I knew I was dying of heart failure what did I have to lose. I had been kept alive by medication and implanted defibrillators for over 20 years but now the heart was finally having its own way – or so it thought.
I was rushed into surgery and the operation was a huge success – giving me a new lease of life.
Here I am 18 months on and preparing to carry out the “Red Sky 100km Walk” followed by a traverse of Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle Infirmary to the Freeman Hospital.
It must be said that without the support and skills of everyone at the Transplant Centre of The Freeman Hospital and the generosity of everyone who has contributed in every way to the Red Sky fund raising efforts, I simply wouldn’t be here today.
“Thank You from the bottom of my “new” heart.”
The Red Sky Foundation’s mission is to improve the life of cardiac patients who are born with or develop heart conditions by providing lifelong support to them and their families. We do this by providing a range of services to relieve sickness and preserve the health of individuals across the north east of England. We assist with the provision of grants, equipment, and awareness to support the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. However, we also support other regional health services within the NHS and other charitable organisations.
The Red Sky Foundation provides life-saving defibrillators for local school and public spaces, working with local education and council representatives. We collaborate with third party organisations to offer a range of training and education from defibrillator use and CPR through to advanced support for babies, children and adults with heart problems and their families.
OUR CORPORATE PARTNERSHIPS
The Red Sky Foundation’s aim is yo provide top-up support over and above the current NHS funding and to collaborate with key partners to assist babies, children and their families from the moment they need the specialist care. Our Trustees and team work closely with medical staff and other organisations to ensure that Red Sky Foundation’s support is targeted to where it is most needed. The Foundation has bought vital equipment (for example heart scanners, transplant machines and public use defibrillators) and contributes funds towards other cardio related projects.
Working in partnership with many individuals and corporate supporters, Red Sky Foundation maximises fundraising at their events which include the Red Sky Ball gala dinner, White Party and other various fundraising challenges throughout the year which not only raise funds but allows our strategic partners, corporate sponsors, supporters and NHS cardio teams and heart families to come together and enjoy themselves.
The vision of the Red Sky Foundation is for babies, children and their families to benefit from our fundraising work and to encourage supporters to raise funds on our behalf so they are able to see the results from what they have achieved. Our goal is to also realise a vision that defibrillators will be available and accessible for those who require life-saving treatment for cardiac arrest in public and community areas 24 hours a day. For Red Sky Foundation Patrons, Trustees, Volunteers and Supporters the shared vision is equally true as they use their time and skills in knowing the benefits they can bring to those who need it most.