Eighty-six-year-old Richmond heart patient raises funds for young girl’s vital cardiac surgery

An 86-year-old Richmond heart patient raised £5,000 for a young South American girl to get life-saving surgery.

Ray Perrin, a former showbiz performer who has been a philanthropist for more than 20 years, joined forces with Chain of Hope, a charity that will provide the remaining funds needed to facilitate the girl’s operation.

The girl from El Salvador, known as Alejandra, is due to undergo surgery in Barcelona in February.

Ray said: “Heart cases are very important to me.

“Alejandra’s condition is very serious. Its life or death really.”

Ray, who founded Richmond charity Children of Latin America (COLA) 17 years ago, decided to raise the funds for children’s operations after he underwent surgery for a full bypass and valve replacement 20 years ago.

COLA has raised funds for 18 projects across 12 Latin American countries and aims to continue supporting children like Alejandra.

Ray said: “We are going to specialize in cardiac cases now but over the years we have raised money for deaf children, blind children and children suffering from cancer.

“To continue our work we need more people helping out with events, making donations, loads of things really.”

DEDICATED: Ray (left) with Bruce Welch OBE of the Shadows at fundraising event.

COLA raised the funds at Richmond Gate Hotel in an event on 19 October. Chain Of Hope will cover the cost of airfares and local travel for Alejandra and her volunteer host family.

Chain of Hope CEO and Twickenham resident, Emma Scanlan, 48, said: “My father had heart surgery himself and that’s what got me involved in Chain of Hope.”

Chain of Hope, founded in Ealing, works with pediatric cardiac hospitals throughout the UK to mobilise volunteer medical professionals to provide treatment for children with life threatening heart disease.

“We are looking for families in south west London who may be able to help us provide the love and care before and after heart surgery by acting as host families or child support volunteers,” said Emma.

For more information or to volunteer with Chain of Hope, contact [email protected]. To volunteer with COLA, contact [email protected].

Feature image shows Zac Goldsmith (left) with Ray Perrin at a fundraising event.

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