Hearts will miss a beat at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light this Saturday (22 Jan) as a very special mascot takes to the pitch.
When the half time whistle blows on the Sunderland v Portsmouth match, Miss Beats, the new mascot of North East heart charity Red Sky Foundation, will make her way on to the hallowed turf.
And she will be joined not only by 10-year-old Phoebe Rumney from Houghton who won the region-wide competition to name her, but also by the Foundation’s founder Sergio Petrucci, who will donate a life-saving defibrillator to the club.
Since its launch in 2016 Red Sky Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help purchase life-saving equipment for cardiologists to treat patients at the children’s heart unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, Sunderland Royal’s neonatal ward and James Cooke hospital at Teesside.
In the last 18 months alone, the charity has also placed more than 80 defibrillators at schools and public places including 23 to help save patients on the covid wards at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
And they have been showing thousands of children and adults how to perform CPR and use the life saving devices.
The machine the Foundation is gifting to the Stadium of Light will be housed in a special cabinet on the outside wall of the club’s ticket office and will be available to members of the public should it be needed to rescue someone in cardiac arrest nearby.
Sergio, who founded the charity with wife Emma after their daughter Luna was born with acute heart problems, said he was excited to be handing it over.
“I’m a Sunderland fan through and through and the chance to stand on the pitch at half time is a dream come true,” he said.
“But it’s the reason behind it that is really important and that is to give the city another a defibrillator, because these machines save lives.”
Fans at the game will be given the chance to support Red Sky Foundation with a fundraising text campaign, set up to help the charity provide even more defibrillators across the region, by texting the word RED to 70470 to donate £2 per month.
For more information about the charity and ways in which to support it visit www.redskyfoundation.com