A Levin couple who give their time to help the Heart Foundation say giving back to your community is both vital and rewarding.

David and Judith Beere will volunteer again this year for the Foundation's Big Heart Appeal in February, to help fight New Zealand's single biggest killer - heart disease.

The retired couple volunteer for several charities. Their attention was originally drawn to the Heart Foundation as Judith's nephew has had multiple heart transplants.

"He was young - still in school and very active," Judith said. "And then all of a sudden he had no energy. They found his heart had problems."


Now on his third heart and aged in his 40s, the Beeres' nephew is fit and well.

"You've never seen a person who wants to live more," said David. "For a lot of people, if your heart gives in, you don't have the money to fix it up. It's organisations like the Heart Foundation that look after us."

The couple believe that waiting for somebody else to help is not the way to go.

"Even if you don't have a heart problem yourself, do your bit - get in and help," David said.

In an alarming statistic, one in five Kiwis die from heart disease, so the Heart Foundation is putting out the call for more people like the Beeres to volunteer as street collectors for next month's appeal.

The time commitment as a volunteer for a few hours on one day is small, the organisation says, but the reward is huge and will play a vital role in the fight against heart disease.

The Beeres will be a stall outside Levin's Countdown supermarket on February 22 - a regular spot for the pair during previous Big Heart appeals.

"Sometimes when people stand on a street corner with a little box, people try and avoid you. For some reason they feel you are somehow begging or putting them under pressure," David said.


"The way we do it, sitting at Countdown, people notice you, they come and talk. Kiwis are generous."

Both David and Judith say they get a real sense of satisfaction out of volunteering and recommend it to others.

"It's the inner knowing that you can contribute towards somebody else's wellbeing," David said.

"I don't think we should watch people suffer just because they don't have the financial means of affording the luxury of good health. If the organisations we help can help them, then I feel very happy about it."

Funds raised during the Heart Foundation's appeal will be used to support heart-related research and specialist training for cardiologists.

Since 1968, the organisation has funded more than $70 million in this area, and also performs a wide range of activities to help support people living with heart disease, and their families, along with providing educational programmes and campaigns that promote heart-healthy living.

The Big Heart Appeal street collections will take place on Friday 22 February and Saturday 23 February 2019. Volunteers are still needed in all regions.

To find out more or to sign up, visit www.heartfoundation.org.nz/volunteer