Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Media Release - 26 June 2020

Each year, more than 300,000 Aussie school kids take part in the Heart Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart program. Every one of them is special – but nine-year-old Matilda Grimshaw is more inspiring than most.
That’s because Matilda started skipping for the Heart Foundation only a month after having open-heart surgery to treat a congenital heart condition.

In February this year, Matilda was diagnosed with complete heart block (CHB). Normally, the upper and lower chambers of the heart communicate via electrical signals to ensure they beat at the same rate. In CHB, these signals are blocked, and the faster rate of the upper chambers is not passed on to the lower chambers.

A “backup” system takes over, allowing the heart to continue pumping blood around the body, but at a much slower rate than usual. Before her surgery, Matilda’s heart rate was only about 35 to 40 beats per minute. (A normal rate is 60 to 100 beats.) Matilda also tired easily and had regular dizzy spells.

On April 28, surgeons at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne inserted a pacemaker to take over the electrical signalling system in Matilda’s heart and restore a normal rhythm.

As soon as I saw Matilda after her surgery, her face looked brighter and she had pink cheeks for the first time in her life,” said Matilda’s mum, Jess.

A few weeks later, Matilda returned to her school, St Catherine of Siena Primary in Armstrong Creek, Geelong. She was excited to learn the school was participating in Jump Rope for Heart during Term Two.

With Jess’s help and her doctors’ permission, Matilda registered for the program on May 29 – only a month out from her surgery. “I am participating in Jump Rope for Heart because I want other kids with heart conditions to be able to have the same great treatment in hospital to get better like I have,” Matilda wrote on her profile.

Matilda can skip for about 10 minutes at a time and has raised almost $500 – well clear of her $200 target. Matilda’s younger brother, Rumi, is also participating in the program.

“Since having her pacemaker installed, we have noticed many positive changes for Matilda,” Jess said. “She has lots of energy and is enthusiastic about sports. She can enjoy running, scooting, skipping and riding her bike without getting tired. She can concentrate and read much faster, and is now devouring several novels a week.”

“We are amazed and grateful that Matilda is doing Jump Rope so soon after her heart surgery. She is very inspirational!” said Heart Foundation CEO VIC, Kellie-Ann Jolly.

“As Matilda discovered, Jump Rope for Heart is lots of fun and great exercise, but it also helps the Heart Foundation in its important work funding lifesaving research and health projects.

“Heart Foundation-funded research has helped make significant advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the past six decades. This includes the development of the pacemaker, which is now making such a tremendous impact in Matilda’s life.”

This year has posed some challenges for the Jump Rope for Heart program, with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting schools across the country, Ms Jolly said.

“In response, we have developed new ways to engage with teachers, kids and parents,” she said. “This includes some terrific online videos about skipping and heart health, as well as instructional videos on how to do neat tricks like the ‘Criss Cross’ and the “Awesome Annie’.”

Jump Rope for Heart is one of Australia’s favourite school activity programs, inspiring kids to embrace skipping as a fun way to get active. 

Since the program’s inception in 1983, more than 10 million Australian kids and more than 90 per cent of Aussie schools have taken part in Jump Rope for Heart.

In that time, schools have raised awareness and more than $104 million to help the Heart Foundation fight heart disease – Australia’s single leading cause of death.

A total of 198 Australian schools participated in the Jump Rope for Heart program in Term Two. So far, 436 have signed up for Term Three.

Teachers who are interested in registering their school for Jump Rope for Heart can sign up here.

Media enquiries

Siobhan McMahon, Media Manager, Physical Activity
M: 0478 313 656 E: Siobhan.mcmahon@heartfoundation.org.au

Debora McInnse, Senior Media Adviser, VIC
M: 0423 827 697 E: debora.mcinnes@heartfoundation.org.au

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join our community of fundraisers who are committed to taking action to fight heart disease....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

Support for young adults: Online events

A series of virtual events for young adults on managing emotional wellbeing. ...

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Trek for Australian Hearts

Join the Heart Foundation in South Australia for the journey of a lifetime, trekking the ancient Flinders Ranges to help save Australian hearts....

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Personal Walking Plan

Feel healthier and happier in six weeks with a free Personal Walking Plan...

Heart Week

Heart Week

Heart Week

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Q&A with Dr Lewan Parker

Identifying microvascular dysfunction as a novel mechanism of poor health in heart failure patients....

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Supporting Young Hearts Program

Information and resources for health professionals who are treating patients between 18 - 40 years of age....

Workplace giving for employees

Workplace giving for employees

Workplace giving for employees

Your employer’s workplace giving program makes it easy to setup regular, tax-deductible donations from your pre-tax income. ...

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

After being treated for atrial fibrillation, Boyd is now back on track

Running has been an important part of Boyd's life, so imagine his shock when a heart condition he had never heard of threatened to put a stop to it. ...

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

Heart attack at 35: Knowing the signs and symptoms

David reflects on how his life changed when he had a heart attack at 35 and how he got back on track....

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Explore how to manage your financial concerns after a heart attack. ...

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

Fruit, vegetables and heart health

How to boost your fruit and vegetable intake to help protect your heart. ...

Pregnancy and heart disease

Pregnancy and heart disease

Information and resources for health professionals....

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Aussie men among the world’s most obese, new data

Media Release - 16 November 2020...

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Nutrition Resources for Practice and Patient Care

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Philanthropic investments

Making philanthropic investments through the Heart Foundation can transform Australians’ health. ...

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Dinner recipes

Search our heart healthy dinner recipes for tonights main meal...

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...

How your heart works

How your heart works

How your heart works

Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to all parts of your body. The blood gives your body the oxygen and nourishment it needs to work properly. ...

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

Pilbara Aboriginal Heart Health Program

The program works with local communities to help improve heart health in the Pilbara....

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

Risk factors for women

In Australia, 90% of women have one risk factor for heart disease, and 50% have two or more. ...

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Supporting local Councils in South Australia

Resources to help support your council region to be healthy, connected and safe....