Gillingham FC prepare for Take Heart Mercy Mission to Sri Lanka

Gillingham Football Club’s official Club charity ‘Take Heart Mercy Mission’ has departed for another trip to Sri Lanka to perform life-saving heart surgery on young children with serious heart defects, children who would be unlikely to survive without the surgery they receive. 

Take Heart Mercy Mission, was developed as a result of the great work carried out over the past 10 years by a group of volunteer medics from the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, and previously with Guys Hospital, led by the prominent children’s heart surgeon, Conal Austin, and leading cardiologist John Simpson. 

Take Heart Mercy Mission has grown from strength to strength over the years, with huge fundraising events such as the Take Heart Mercy Mission Thunder Ball at Priestfield Stadium, raising substantial funds to aid lifesaving trips to Sri Lanka.

Gillingham Football Club were able to make a big difference to little hearts, recently raising an incredible £75,000 to aid the club’s work within Kent schools, businesses, institutions and homes, to educate children on healthy hearts, deliver educational packages on how to look after your heart and facilitate educational programmes on drug awareness, smoking, alcohol abuse, obesity, good exercise and healthy eating.

The money raised also helps spread the word of our amazing volunteer’s work in Sri Lanka. We team up schools with families we work with, and establishing constructive and sustainable support programmes so that our children can benefit from understanding about alternative ways of life, cultures, religions and standards. 

Besides the substantial improvement to infrastructure in Kent and Sri Lanka, funds are directly given to improve the medical operation and Gills football development work abroad.

After last year’s successful trip, when our team of doctors, anesthetists, perfusionists, intensive care nurses and theatre staff took part in the mission, they’re back again to make a difference.

The team flew out on Wednesday 14th October and return on Saturday 24th October. During this period a whole host of activity will take place.

Chairman Paul Scally, looks ahead to the trip with great excitement: “I have been privately on a number of these missions over the years. I have been humbled by the experiences I have witnessed and seen a whole different level of life to the one we enjoy here in the UK.”

"I’m proud to say The Take Heart Mercy Mission has now completed 184 heart surgical procedures on babies and children in Sri Lanka which is a fantastic effort, made possible with the help of a dedicated bunch of people.”

“The people in Sri Lanka look forward to us coming each year with our community coaches providing football sessions, we’ve got bags of kits and supplies to distribute and we know they will make a massive difference to the community.”

“’Now I’ve witnessed it first-hand, I realise quite how outstanding the work is that the charity is doing. I look forward to returning, developing the charity, its work and achieving new goals and sharing that with fans of Gillingham Football Club and beyond.”