About How you can help Donate What we do News Shop Contact Us


Make a donation
Make a regular donation
Leave a gift in your will
Maximise your gift with Gift Aid
Donate as you shop
Donate in memory
Celebration Giving
Donate Cryptocurrency
Facebook donate
Donate Instead of Christmas Cards

Red Sky Ball

Children’s Heart Unit Fund and local Sunderland couple fund life-saving equipment in North East Hospitals

The Children’s Heart Unit Fund, a charity which raises money for vital medical equipment, facilities and care at the Freeman Hospital, has extended its charitable efforts to neighbouring North East hospitals in order to fund life-saving medical equipment. This money was raised by a local Sunderland couple whose daughter was treated at Sunderland Infirmary and the Freeman Hospital.
Sergio and Emma Petrucci successfully raised money for CHUF which has helped fund Echocardiogram (Echo) machines for Sunderland Infirmary and James Cook Hospital. The machines, which cost £53,000 each, are instrumental in providing detailed diagnosis of young children with heart conditions such as congenital heart disease.
Commenting on the fundraising, Majd Abu-Harb, MD, MRCP, DCH, FRCPCH and Consultant Neonatologist, was enthusiastic: “For many years, and particularly this year, CHUF has raised and donated significant sums of money to our local hospitals in the northern region. Lifesaving equipment can be bought to allow myself and my colleagues to provide early diagnosis, treatment and care to babies and children.”


The Sunderland ECHO machine was funded entirely thanks to Sergio and Emma. They achieved this with their Red Sky Ball event, a charity ball set-up in recognition of the Children’s Heart Unit, who supported the couple’s daughter, Luna, during her illness in 2015. In total, Sergio and Emma have raised £110,000 in just 13 months and have significantly raised the profile of the charity.
Sergio Petrucci explained why the couple will continue raising funds for the charity: “We established Red Sky Ball to say thank you for what the doctors & nurses did for our daughter Luna – they saved her life and we’re eternally grateful. Seeing the gratitude from the cardiologists around the region in the face of adversity makes what we are doing extremely worthwhile – and as long as we are making a positive impact on the lives of heart children from Sunderland and beyond we will continue to add to the huge amount of funds we’ve already raised.


It was a reality check when the cardiologists from Sunderland Hospital and James Cook Hospital told us how important our contribution has been and without the purchase of the machines, the teams would have to make do with aged machinery rather than the state of the art equipment we’ve handed over. We are one of the lucky families and our story is a joyous one but when we hear stories of how we’re making this difference to a baby or child’s life it makes us want to do even more.”
Commenting on the endeavour, CHUF CEO Chris Gray praised the Petrucci family for their life-changing donations: “Words cannot describe how proud we are to receive this invaluable support from the Petrucci family they have worked tirelessly over the last 18 months to raise vital funds to support the cardiac program in Sunderland. We are very excited that this year will see the launch of their Red Sky Brunch at Ramside hall on the 17th September.”

Children's Heart Unit Fund - CHUF

Designworks Business Centre
William Street
NE10 0JP

CHUF is a registered charity in England and Wales No 1160831 © 2023.

Connect with us

We will keep your information to send you our e-newsletter. We take your privacy seriously and will only use your details to provide the information and services you have requested from us. Click here to view our privacy policy. Should you wish at any time to have your details removed from our contact list please email info@chuf.org.uk.