Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla family raises money for HeartKids

Matt Nelson and his sons are hosting a fundraising evening in memory of their late wife and mother.

MONIQUE FREER May 15, 2014 3:33am

They are a family with a big heart for those whose hearts are struggling.

Matt Nelson and his sons Hamish, 10, and Claude, 7, are hosting the second annual ‘‘An Evening for Tina’’ next month in memory of their late wife and mother, Tina.

All money will once again go to HeartKids, an organisation for which Mrs Nelson was a passionate advocate.

‘‘All proceeds — 100 per cent and more probably — go back to HeartKids,’’ Mr Nelson said.

‘‘We’re not out to break any world records... we just want to continue to remember Tina and keep raising support for HeartKids.’’

HeartKids is a registered charity that provides support to families of children with heart disease, either congenital or acquired. It also provides funding for research to assist cardiologists and researchers to reduce the incidence of childhood heart disease and current mortality rates.

Mrs Nelson died suddenly in March 2013 after suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes the muscle of the heart to become thickened without any obvious cause.

She was diagnosed with the disease when she gave birth to Hamish in 2003, although it was only ever classified as mild.

Mrs Nelson became an advocate for HeartKids after both her sons were diagnosed with the same heart condition following the birth of Claude in 2007.

The past year was a rollercoaster for the Nelsons, with the family being dealt another blow in June when Claude suffered a seizure while visiting family in Gilgandra.

After being airlifted to hospital it was recommended that a defibrillator be inserted into his chest, and he underwent surgery within a week.

Mr Nelson said while he did not want anybody to go through what his family did, it made him further appreciate the work of HeartKids from first-hand experience.

‘‘We’d always known about how special HeartKids are and how good the work is that they do,’’ he said.

‘‘They did an outstanding job in preparing Claude for getting a defibrillator... as a parent it’s pretty challenging and confronting.’’

Mr Nelson and his family’s mission for Mrs Nelson’s death to leave a legacy saw them raise more than $30000 for HeartKids last year.

Next month they will start it all again at ‘‘An Evening for Tina’’, which celebrates one of Mrs Nelson’s favourite past times — movies.

To be held on June 7 at Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre, the event will include an online auction of memorabilia and trades and services, lucky door prizes and raffles and the feature screening, most likely of Sunshine on Leath.

For more information visit or to book tickets phone Matt Nelson on 0400841732 or email

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