Gatwick BA cabin crew in walk of hope

A team of ten British Airways cabin crew from Gatwick will walk with the fastest man in the world later this month for a cause that is close to all their hearts.

The crew of BA2263 will operate the flight from Gatwick to Kingston, Jamaica on February 17, then join world champion and current Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt for the 5.6km Sigma Walkathon in aid of the Chain of Hope charity.

British Airways has a long-standing partnership with Chain of Hope, a charity set up by the eminent heart surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, who plans to establish a brand new cardiac centre at the Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston.

The 10 cabin crew champions Kayti Roberts, Suzi Ball, Christina Smith, Kerryanne Meehan, Camilla Broglia, Michelle Oakes, Emma Oliver, Sarah Hill, Robert Brock and Louise Speakman, also plan to visit the hospital during their three-day stay in Kingston.

Some of them have visited previously and have sat in on cardiac surgery procedures on children with life-threatening heart diseases.

The UK charity sends out medical teams to treat children in their own country, setting up training programmes for local surgeons and medical staff. But the number of operations that can be performed is limited by the number of Intensive Care Unit beds available. The new cardiac centre will house 10 new beds, an operating theatre and a catheter laboratory and allow doctors to help many more children in need of life saving surgery.
Kayti Roberts from Haywards Heath is one of the crew members making a return visit to the hospital. She said: “I was fortunate enough to sit in on open heart surgery on a young child and it was a life changing experience.

“Chain of Hope is such a fantastic charity, Magdi Yacoub is an amazing man and everyone is so passionate about what they do and the difference they make to these children’s lives. It is fantastic that British Airways supports the charity and that we are all getting the chance to help by taking part in the walkathon.”

Up to 500 children are born with congenital heart disease in Jamaica every year. Of these, half require medical or surgical intervention or face a premature death. The current waiting list for cardiac surgery at the Bustamante Hospital is at least 150 children, with 100 new patients added to the list annually.

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