A CHARITY event has hit all the white notes after raising £25,000 for The Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital.

Sunderland couple Sergio and Emma Petrucci hosted a Dubai-inspired afternoon at Ramside Hall on Sunday, and have announced that it raised £25,000, for the unit that saved their daughter’s life less than two years ago.

The Ashbrooke husband and wife – who founded Red Sky Ball, organised the White Party Brunch to raise cash that will go towards funding lifesaving equipment for young children with heart problems.  It takes their total funds raised to just shy of £140,000 in just over 18 months.

The event attracted support from a number of commercial partners from region and beyond, including their main sponsor Emirates.  More than 360 guests attended the event.

Sergio and Emma began their fundraising for CHUF after their daughter Luna was born with a heart condition that meant she required lifesaving surgery.  They hope to continue with a range of events and activities that will help buy further equipment, saving the lives of many other children from across the North East and UK.

Sergio, who also has a son, Enzo, said: “Sunday was an unbelievable day.  I’d say the best party we’ve ever been too.  It was absolutely incredible to see everyone dressed in white to support us, and offer their generous donations.”

“The praise we received for the quality of the event was equally incredible.  At the end of the day, this is just me and my wife, trying to do something to give back to a team that has done something so amazing for our family.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey, since we started fundraising.  This all started with me offering to give some money personally to the team at the Freeman Hospital after wanting to do something to thank them for all they have done.  And it’s grown from there.  It’s been amazing and it’s so nice to know you’re making such a big difference to other children.”

The money raised from the Red Sky Ball will be enough to buy an Organ Care System which will allow donated organs – particularly for heart transplants, to remain viable for up to 24 hours.  Current machines can only keep a heart healthy for only two to four hours.

CHUF is one of only two units in the UK supporting babies and children who require heart transplants. Over 300 children each year are cared for at the heart unit, 20 will receive heart transplants and over 7,000 will return for outpatient visits.  Ten per cent of the youngsters under treatment are from the Wearside area.

“Ultimately, supporting CHUF to buy this machine means that many more donated hearts will be viable and many more babies’ and children’s lives can be saved with the help of all of those who make our Red Sky efforts a success,” added Sergio.

Chris Gray, CEO at CHUF, said: “We continue to be astounded by the incredible passion shown by the Petrucci family in their quest to raise funds to support many more families whose children require cardiac care.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to receive this level of support.”

The event which sold out within days, took place just after National Transplant Week.  Guests were dressed in white at the event, and were treated to a Dubai-themed afternoon of free-flowing Prosecco and the most delicious selection of food.  There was also a special DJ set by legendary 90’s club DJ, Brandon Block.  Additional support was secured from sponsors including Specsavers, Barclays, Mercedes Benz of Sunderland, Poetic Licence, Everyone Active and Ramside Hall Hotel ensuring all money raised could be donated to CHUF to fund the heart transplant machine.

John Adamson, owner of Ramside Hall Hotel, said: “Having heard Sergio’s story of how his beautiful daughter, Luna, had a life-saving heart operation, I’ve been touched by how he and wife Emma have dedicated their own time and effort to raise funds to help other children at the Freeman Hospital with similar conditions as Luna.

“It was an honour to be asked and to be able to help raise money for such a worthy cause.”