Local Craig Parkinson grew up with a number of rare heart conditions, but he hasn’t let that stop him from living life to the fullest as a firefighter and long-time supporter of HeartKids.
As a heart adult, Craig has now been selected to participate in a unique fundraiser being held by HeartKids which will see 12 contestants sent to a secret location to participate in fun challenges.
The event will be filmed for a national reality television show, the HeartKids Charity TV Challenge, to be broadcast on the Channel 7 network later in the year.
Charity TV Productions, will travel with the 12 participants for their mystery week and filming their every move. Adelaide personality and Charity TV Challenge host, Troy Grey, will be joining the 12 participants for the week-long journey and be right alongside them as they undertake each secret challenge.
Mr Parkinson and says he’s excited about thrusting himself into the unknown.
“All I know is that on Monday the sixth of August I’m getting a plane ticket at Adelaide airport and from then I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing,” he said.
“I think they have some crazy challenges set up, it’s going to be quite interesting. I'm excited about being on national TV and helping to raise awareness for children living with congenital / childhood heart disease."
When Mr Parkinson was three years old he was diagnosed with an Aortic Ascending Aneurysm – a subtype of thoracic aortic aneurysms or aneurysms that occur in the chest area above the diaphragm.
As an adult he was also diagnosed with a unicuspid aortic valve, a very rare heart condition affecting just 2 per cent of the population.
Mr Parkinson became involved with HeartKids after undergoing an operation to fix his heart last year.
Through HeartKids he has begun mentoring teenagers dealing with heart disease, providing important support as a member of the HeartKids Peers As Mentors program.
Whilst every families'childhood heart disease journey is unique, mentors offer practical assistance, share their own story, are a friendly face, a supportive shoulder and a voice on the end of the phone.
“I would have loved to have someone I could have spoke to when I was going through it,” Mr Parkinson said.
All contestants on the reality TV show are raising funds with a goal of $10,000 each, with funds raised going to HeartKids Limited.
Around 3000 babies born each year in Australia with a heart defect. HeartKids provides vital support for children, teens, and their families or carers, throughout their life-long heart journey.
If you would like to donate towards Craig’s cause, head to https://santtvchallenge.everydayhero.com/au/mav-s-heart-kids-tv-challange.