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Children’s Cardiac Nurse goes extra mile to support patients in marathon run for Heartbeat

(Photo of Claire Harding and Katy Morton)

A dedicated Children’s Cardiac Nurse Specialist has just completed her third marathon, this time fundraising for leading cardiac charity, Heartbeat.


Taking her day job a step further, Katy Morton, from Winchester, completed the Barcelona marathon in 4hrs 16mins on Sunday 10th March 2024. She ran alongside her friend Claire Harding, to raise money in support of Heartbeat, the charity which is helping the families of her patients.


Heartbeat helps newborns, children and adults diagnosed with congenital and cardiovascular diseases primarily by supporting the work of the Wessex Cardiac Unit based at University Southampton Hospital.  The charity helps fund the provision of specialised equipment, services and facilities to help patients and their relatives through their cardiac journey.


41-year-old Katy works on the children’s cardiac unit, Ocean Ward at University Hospital Southampton where she is often with patients at the very start of their cardiac journey. This could be from the diagnosis of congenital heart disease in babies during a mother’s 20-week pregnancy scan, or when children are referred to the ward by their GP. Committed to helping others, Katy wanted to do more, which is why she decided to run a marathon in support of Hampshire’s leading heart charity.


She said: “Fundraising for Heartbeat was a no brainer. The care the patients receive on the wards is exceptional but there’s always more that can be done. I’ve known of Heartbeat for many years and seeing the support they offer to families is amazing. That complete wrap around care is vital.”


Katy first came to work on Ocean Ward in 2004 as a placement student. She then went to London and worked in hospitals there, before returning to Ocean Ward two years ago.

“It’s amazing being back. There are patients still with the ward that I fed their first bottles of milk to back in 2004 and now they have beards! It’s such a privilege to have been able to work with these families over so many years.”


Being a lover of running, Katy jetted off to the Spanish capital two days ahead of her marathon race with her friend Claire.  By running for Heartbeat, Katy also wanted to raise awareness about the work the charity does. She announced: “We’ve just hit the £500 mark, and I’m thrilled. But it’s not just about raising money, it’s also about getting people talking about heart health, and about how much it can impact not just the patient, but also their families. It’s one of the things Heartbeat does so well with its Rotary Heartbeat House.”


Rotary Heartbeat House provides accommodation to families of patients being treated at the Wessex Cardiac Unit at the University Hospital Southampton. The 24-bedroom home is entirely funded by Heartbeat and offers respite, support, and care for the families of patients who come from the Wessex region and beyond. But with running costs of £87,000 a year to keep it going, it’s one of the charity’s biggest costs.


Tanya Harder, Community Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Heartbeat commented: “Our core purpose as a charity is to provide a home-from-home for the relatives of patients who have cardiac procedures, along with fundraising against pioneering research and projects that come out of the Wessex Cardiac Centre at the University Hospital Southampton.”


“We are keen to continue to raise awareness of what we do to support many communities across the South of England and beyond with both reactive and preventative cardiac care, which is why we are always so grateful to our supporters.”

Tina Richardson, Head of Operations mentioned “We’re thrilled Katy has raised such a fantastic amount of money for Heartbeat. It’s hugely appreciated.”


Katy added: “The marathon was an amazing experience. I loved running through the streets of Barcelona with my Heartbeat t-shirt on, knowing I was raising awareness and getting to shout about such an amazing charity.”

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