Long Eaton Rugby have announced Heart Link as their charity of 2019/20 season.
The Glenfield Hospital charity supports families of children born with heart defects and helps to improve facilities for young patients, their families by providing much needed valuable medical equipment.
The charity was selected by the Derbyshire based rugby club because of long standing member and rugby coach, Matt Hopwell’s connection to the organisation. Matt’s son, five-year-old Zac, was born with two heart defects and has been treated at Glenfield Hospital his whole life. Heart Link has supported Zac through numerous lifesaving surgeries and many long stays in hospital – providing rooms for Matt and his wife Mel to stay, medical equipment, toys and invaluable counselling and support for the whole family.
After raising over £21,000 for baby loss charity, Forever Stars, throughout the 2018/19 season, Long Eaton Rugby are aiming to smash this total in aid of Heart Link with fundraising events such as bake sales, BBQs, live music events, sporting challenges and special branded rugby kit.
Matt said: “We are absolutely thrilled and massively grateful that Long Eaton Rugby members voted for Heart Link as the charity of the season. Glenfield hospital has been under continued threat of closure for several years, despite being one of the leading facilities for children’s heart services in our region. This means that every little really does help and any money raised can make a huge difference.
“Heart Link have saved Zac’s life on several occasions and we don’t know what we would have done without the support of such a special charity. We have so much planned at the rugby club and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to raise awareness and as much money as possible over the coming months.”
Zac Hopwell and his brother, Toby, play in the minis section at Long Eaton and Matt and Mel are both members of the club. Matt also coaches the minis section.
Chris Brookes, Chairman at Long Eaton Rugby said: “Matt is a credit to our club and the work him and Mel do for Heart Link is really inspirational. We were keen to get involved and help with their fundraising efforts, so choosing Heart Link as our charity of the season was a no brainer. We have lots of exciting plans in the pipeline for the upcoming season and look forward to seeing how much we can raise.”