The council’s Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF) received an update this week on the work of the Red Sky Foundation.
Sunderland couple Sergio and Emma Petrucci set up the charity in March 2020, having spent four years raising funds to support children with heart conditions in the North East.
The foundation helps to support cardiac-related causes in the region – including work that helps babies, children and adults living with heart conditions, along with helping to fundraise for public-access defibrillators.
Mr Petrucci, speaking at the Riverside CAF meeting, noted how in January 2020, South Tyneside had just eight public-access defibrillators, so the charity set out to work with organisations to increase this.
Through their work they have been able to help secure an additional 11 public-access defibrillators, with more pending.
He said: “There were only eight in the whole area, and I was taken aback by that really.
“With Red Sky I felt obliged to help the region and South Tyneside, to try and come up to speed with Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland, who had loads more.
“Since we got charitable status through in March last year, I’m pleased to be able to say we’ve added another 11 defibrillators to South Tyneside, and we’ve got three pending at the moment.”
Mr Petrucci praised organisations and those who have got involved with supporting the charity, adding their work is only possible due to the help of others.
He added the “ultimate goal” would be to have a public-access defibrillator every 500 metres, but this will “take a long, long time to do, and a lot of money”.
The work of the charity includes offering training to individuals on how to use the defibrillators, and going into schools to help educate young people on them.
Councillors at the meeting were unanimous in their praise for Mr Petrucci and the “important and life saving work” the charity supports.
Mr Petrucci and his wife set up the foundation after seeing the life saving, pioneering treatment their daughter Luna received in 2015 after being born with a serious heart problem, and wanted to raise money for more life saving equipment.