On Sunday CHF were delighted to host X Factor Star Nicholas McDonald at a Brighthearts event at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital. Nicholas has the rare heart condition, Long QT syndrome and nearly died after having a heart attack playing football, aged eight. Whilst a contestant on X Factor last year, we received many messages from heart children and their families who said they were very inspired by Nicholas.
Our Brighthearts event began with our teenagers with heart conditions taking part in a fun drama workshop run by City Academy. This gave our teens the opportunity to meet, bond, and have fun with a range of drama based activities.
Following the workshop, Nicholas McDonald arrived with mum and manager Eileen, and spent a great deal of time chatting to our teenagers, signing autographs and taking pictures. During his visit, he gave a very emotional performance of his favourite songs from his time on the X Factor.
Whilst at the hospital, Nicholas visited a new young patient’s room [r1] on the adult cardiac ward at St. Thomas’s hospital which CHF helped redecorate and transform, in partnership with the Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation (ECHO).
Everyone enjoyed the day, especially the Brighthearts, many of whom were already fans of Nicholas throughout his journey on the X Factor. It was a particularly special day for young heart teen, Charlie Haines, who was celebrating her 18th birthday. Her sister, Jessica Haines, said “Events like these organised by the Children’s Heart Federation are great because they help her feel that she’s not alone. Her disability stops her doing a lot of things but she just wants to be like every other normal teenager.”
Nicholas certainly enjoyed himself too: “I’m so pleased to be supporting the Children’s Heart Federation, a wonderful charity which has helped many young people to cope with their heart conditions across the UK. I really enjoyed visiting the teenagers who were so positive. A heart defect should not hold any young person back from going for their dreams and living a normal life.”
CHF would like to thank Nicholas McDonald and his team for their time and tremendous support, our Brighthearts for attending, and St Thomas’ hospital and ECHO.