Parker takes the plunge in freezing cold tub

By Jessica Tyson

Heavyweight boxer Joseph Parker is taking the plunge today by sitting in a tub chilled to 10 degrees for 360 seconds at the annual 360 Heart Kids Heart Stopper Challenge in Auckland.

The event raises awareness and funds for the Heart Kids charity in support of children born with a congenital heart defect (CHD), the most common serious birth abnormality in New Zealand and number one cause of death in infants and babies.

Participants, including families and sports teams, will sit in a freezing cold tub to represent how the heart is sometimes packed with ice during a heart operation.

Parker says he has a personal connection to Heart Kids after his friend's child was born with a CHD.

"This is just a small thing I can do to raise awareness for a charity that does big things for these born fighters, he says.

“I'm also mindful that rates of Rheumatic Heart Disease are far too high, especially in Maori and Pasifika communities. Heart Kids provides great support to those children and families affected by RHD."

Parker will take part alongside special guests, contestants from Dancing with the Stars including Suzy Cato, Matt Tatton-Brown, David Seymour, Marama Fox and Roger Farrelly.

The event today launches the beginning of the 360Heart Stopper Challenge season with events taking place around the country.

About CHD:

A congenital heart defect is a problem with the structure of the heart. It is present at birth. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect. The defects can involve the walls of the heart, the valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins near the heart. They can disrupt the normal flow of blood through the heart.