Mr Matthews (left) with his wife Raadhiyah and daughter Thaakirah
It is with immense sadness that we announce, Mr Fareed Matthews, founder of Brave Little Hearts SA, passed away on Wednesday, June 30th following a courageous battle with COVID-19.
Professor Liesl Zühlke, Director of the CHDRU, wrote the following tribute to him:
“Mr Matthews was one of the most enthusiastic and committed champions of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) in South Africa. When his youngest daughter, Thaakirah, was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, pulmonary stenosis and a ventricular septal defect at 3 months old, Mr Matthews took it upon himself to find out everything about CHD. In 2014 he co-founded Brave Little Hearts South Africa, a leading CHD advocacy, awareness and patient/family education organisation to holistically empower and support families affected by CHD. We met each other in 2015, and have worked together since then, to elevate the message #CHDisreal. We travelled together to Barcelona in 2017 to attend the World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, where he became a founding member of Global ARCH and spread his amazing message, commitment, and enthusiasm across the world.
Over the last few years, Mr Matthews has worked closely with the CHDRU to share his experiences as a CHD parent and help raise awareness about the little-known condition. Mr Matthews was a beacon of hope in the South African CHD landscape and indeed, across the world – his tireless efforts and legacy will live on in the work that we do. It was a real honour working with him.
More importantly, however, Mr Matthews was a family man and amazing father to his four children. We think particularly of his family at this time as they mourn his loss and celebrate his life and legacy.”
Mr Matthews at the inaugural meeting of the special research advisory group for congenital and rheumatic heart disease in 2017