Published: Monday, December 24th, 2018

Inspirational schoolgirl brings ‘SACCS’ full of Christmas presents to heart patients


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Anna Hemphill (front left, sitting) with patient Euan Bisset, school friends, teacher Colette Watt (left) and Golden Jubilee National Services Division (NSD) staff with all the presents


An inspirational schoolgirl has continued her mission to help people with heart disease by dropping off sacks full of presents for patients and families at the Golden Jubilee.


Anna Hemphill was just 10 years old when mum Mary was first admitted to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital in 2011 to have aortic valve replacement surgery.


Six months later Mary was back in hospital receiving a mechanical mitral valve. In 2012 she had a pacemaker fitted before a mitral valve repair in 2015.


It was a distressing and anxious time for young Anna, waiting around in the wards for word of her mum’s progress and it’s the reason she wants to help other children, families and patients who are going through the same ordeals.


Since then Anna has tirelessly raised a massive £12,000, and donated thousands of pounds worth of goodies, for heart charities including the British Heart Foundation and the Scottish Association of Children with Heart Disorders.


And last week Anna, 17, dropped into our National Services Division (NSD) ward to hand in a cheque for £1,600 along with two massive food hampers, four sacks of presents including iTunes and hotel vouchers and massive Christmas crackers filled with goodies.


She was accompanied by best pals Caitlin Cunningham, Cristina Mazzoni and Jack Purdie and maths teacher Colette Watt from St Stephen’s High School in Port Glasgow.


Anna said: “I went through a really difficult time so I just want to help others who are going through the same thing.


“It’s also to say thank you for all the amazing care the Golden Jubilee and all the heart charities give to the likes of my family.


“My friends and family, everyone at my school and the whole community really support me and I want them to know how grateful I am for that and for their generosity.”


Proud mum Mary, 44, is still under the care of the Scottish Adult Congenital Cardiac Service (SACCS) team at the Golden Jubilee.


She said: “I’ve brought Anna up to know that some people aren’t lucky as we have been and I haven’t shielded her from anything.


“She’s very strong and really passionate about what she does. She has taken our experiences into her school to educate people and engage with them, not just to raise money for charities.”


Teacher Colette Watt said: “Anna is a very inspiring young woman. Through her campaigns she brings the whole school together and there is a great atmosphere at her events on our shared campus and everyone gets involved.”


Golden Jubilee Medical Director Mike Higgins met Anna for the first time on Wednesday and was blown away by her dedication and drive to help others.


He said: “What Anna has done, and is continuing to do, for someone so young is just absolutely wonderful.


“We are so grateful to her and her spirit of generosity and compassion for others is truly inspiring. She is a credit to her family, her school and her whole community.”


SACCS Senior Nurse Specialist Maggie Simpson is also grateful to Anna for her commitment.


She said: “SACCS would like to express thanks to Anna for her ongoing support to the patients and charities that provide support for patients with a cardiac diagnosis. 


“Her organisation of a variety of events to raise money is greatly appreciated and will be of huge benefit to patients and their families who attend this specialist unit at the Golden Jubilee.”

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