THE Accor Extreme Challenge to Cure Kids Fiji competitors had the opportunity to view first-hand the rheumatic heart disease screening team in action, conducting their life-saving RHD screening on the outskirts of Sigatoka.
Cure Kids helped to fund the pilot study using funds raised in the same event in 2010 and the project is now in its second phase.
Nurses have been trained to use mobile echocardiograms, travelling into remote areas to screen children's hearts.
While the group was at the Naqalimare District School, children were screened and those found to have a possible or probable chance of RHD were treated and referred to cardiologists for continuing treatment.
"It was a rewarding and emotional day for everyone and it will be a long time before they forget the faces of the kids in that village as they saw their hearts beating on the screen," said event director Lee Pearce who is also the general manager of Novotel Nadi.
He said travelling from remote villages for hospital checks could be a difficult task for families.
This year's Extreme Challenge is expected to raise more than $300,000. Mr Pearce said the funds will be used to expand the RHD screening projects as well as maintaining children's vital hospital equipment, provided from previous fundraising events.
Teams from Fiji, New Zealand and Australian Accor properties have been joined by representatives from local sponsor companies for the five-day physically-demanding Extreme Challenge.
"Seeing this study detecting heart issues that might not have been picked up until it was too late, shows how important this work is," said Cure Kids CEO Vicki Lee.
"For the competitors to see where the money they have raised can make a life-saving difference makes their hard work worthwhile."
As a lighter side to the trip, the competitors were treated to a Sigatoka River jetboat ride as well as an Off-Road Cave Safari to learn more about the Fijian cultures and way of life before playing rugby against local school children.