The Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), a U.K.-based charity that supports children with cardiac ailments, recently announced it received nearly $48,000 in donations made using cryptocurrency. 

According to Charlotte Campbell, director of Fundraising and Operations at CHUF, the charity first considered accepting crypto donations after one of its donors, Dan Bainbridge, suggested it. Bainbridge also pledged $10,000 in BAT as a donation. In an emailed press release, CHUF said the donations had been made using The Giving Block, a service which enables non-governmental organizations to accept cryptocurrency donations. 

CHUF provides support to patients from the Children’s Heart Unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and had first made an appeal for funds online back in April, when the U.K. went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which halted the charity’s regular fundraising activities. According to Campbell, while the charity had earlier received a one-time bitcoin donation from Bainbridge in 2017, this is the first time CHUF has publicly appealed for donations in cryptocurrency. 

“I had a heart operation when I was a baby,” said Bainbridge, saying he received a lot of support from people at the charity back when he was about 18 months old. “I had always thought that if I have any success, I’d like to give back.”

Bainbridge, the founder of a crypto focused venture capital fund BigBirdVC, also said he had helped connect the charity with The Giving Block’s platform. 

According to CHUF, apart from Bainbridge’s contribution, another large donation was made by an anonymous donor. The individual donations were matched by the platform’s COVID-19 relief campaign, bringing the total amount donated to about $48,000. 

“Even though donations through cryptocurrency are more popular than ever, it is rare to see donations of this size from individual givers,” said Alex Wilson, co-founder of The Giving Block, in the emailed statement, “We are delighted that this money will be used to help Heart Families in the U.K.”

According to Campbell, opening up to crypto donations has given the charity access to a completely new audience.

“It’s given us exposure in the U.S., which we have never had in the past,” she said.

The charity uses the donated money to provide meals for the patients’ families, to acquire new medical equipment and to buy toys for the children, among other uses. 

Currently, CHUF accepts crypto donations in bitcoin, ether, zcash, Gemini dollar, BAT and Litecoin

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