North East Connected

Cramlington girl recognised as a Heart Hero

Rachel Hooley
Rachel Hooley

Rachel was awarded the Young Heart Hero category in the charity’s annual awards ceremony which recognise and celebrate the exceptional contribution of individuals and groups who are fighting for every heartbeat, such as heart patients who are campaigning for better services, fundraisers, partners, scientists and health professionals.

Rachel scooped a BHF Heart Hero Award for her work supporting organ donation across the country. In 2012, Rachel Hooley underwent a heart transplant after she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. Although the 12-year-old still suffers from ill health, she has since worked tirelessly to promote the Organ Donor Register.

To spread the word about the huge impact that organ donation can have on a family like hers, Rachel set up the organisation Hearts That Matter with her sister, Kate. Together, by selling homemade bracelets and handbag charms, they have raised more than £7,000 for charity.

Rachel’s proud mum, Eve, said: “After the transplant Rachel was keen to know how she could help, because she knew it was amazing that she got a transplant but that other children are not so lucky.she’s determined to make a positive impact on this world.”

Rachel was presented with her award by BHF Chief Executive Simon Gillespie at a special ceremony at the University of Leeds with more than 70 people in attendance.

Simon Gillespie said: “Our annual Heart Hero Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional contribution that our supporters make to our fight against heart disease. And we’re delighted to recognise Rachel for her amazing efforts.

“Rachel’s determination shines through, despite everything she’s endured. As well as raising awareness of the Organ Donor Register, Rachel has also competed in four British Transplant Games, winning bronze and silver medals. It was a privilege to congratulate Rachel and thank her and all of our supporters who are helping to fight for every heartbeat.”

The Heart Hero Awards have five award categories: Inspiration Award; Young Hero Award; Innovation Award; Influencing Award and Fighting Spirit Award. The winners were announced at BHF North Annual Supporter Conference at the University of Leeds, a free event where the charity’s supporters found out about local heart research, heard an update from Chief Executive Simon Gillespie and met other volunteers, fundraisers, patients and health professionals.

To find out more about future upcoming conferences visit

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