Debra & British Heart Foundation team driven to save lives

Thu, May 18th, 2017

Team work hard to fund research to prevent cardiovascular disease

Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, responsible for more than 70,000 deaths every year.

Merseyside is much higher than the national average for deaths caused by cardiovascular disease - a powerful incentive for Debra Day to excel in her job every day.

Debra is the stock generator for the Merseyside division of national charity, the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Vital research

The local BHF team, of which Debra is a key member, last year raised more than £1.4m which goes towards research into the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Overall the BHF currently funds 6 research projects at the University of Liverpool alone, totalling over £1m of funding - with tangible results.

“I recently went to one of the labs and spoke to the researchers about potentially being able to identify a single strand of DNA out of 3.2m that potentially can cause sudden death,” said Debra.

“So that is why we do this - it is why we are out there every day pounding the streets and speaking to businesses to generate stock to raise funds.”

Committed team

BHF operates 10 furniture, electrical and clothing stores across the Liverpool city region and Debra’s principal role is to generate stock for those outlets.

That is as well as giving presentations to local firms, going into schools and businesses to deliver lifesaving CPR training and helping to organise fundraising events in the community.

She added: “All the money we raise we spend right here in Merseyside. There is a whole host of us working hard to do that and I play a small part.

“There might be someone out selling badges and they are equally as important as me going into big businesses.”

The money she and the team raises has also funded 204 heart defibrillators, 128 Heart Start schemes, 41 CPR Call Push Rescue Awards, four heart support groups, 258 Health at Work members, 19 alliance members and 58 research projects in the North West.

‘Phenomenal difference’

BHF locally has been a member of Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce for around three years and Debra says that the difference it has made has been “phenomenal”.

She explained: “The chamber has been absolutely wonderful.

“They allow me to promote what we do through their website and I have attended a number of independent sessions where I can learn and develop my own skills.

“What I have found to be most beneficial is the Connect Over Coffee networking events.

“Yes, it is good to learn new skills, but when it comes to driving business forward the key is to make connection with the right people and that is what the chamber helps you to do.

“You meet the decision-makers at these events and you can get things done.”

Drive and passion

Debra’s own background is in business and it is that experience that helps her connect with people “from the boardroom downwards”.

And it is the potential outcomes that keeps driving her forwards.

She added: “Every charity will have to work hard and be passionate about driving the cause.

“Ultimately it is the research that matters because if it can prevent heart disease then that is fantastic.”

The next Connect Over Coffee take place at the Chamber on Friday 9 June 2017 at 10am.

Book your place today.

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