By Michelle Colesanti

For the last 10 years, Nelson Elementary School has participated in Jump Rope for Heart. According to Nelson’s Physical Education Coach Leslie Wheeler, over the years students at the school have raised $30,321. This year alone $6,372.53 was raised.

Kindergarten student Avery Rozados enjoyed the moment when Coach Wheeler presented her with a medal for raising the most money at school. According to her mom, Wendy Kuhast, Avery was proud to help raise money to help other kids who have a sick heart. Avery, along with the help of her mom, raised $1,000 in just five days. With the help of technology; email and Facebook, they were able to raise the money by reaching out to friends and family around the country. Everyone knows someone that has been affected by heart disease and Kuhast found that people would rather donate to something as important as this rather than buying chocolate bars or wrapping paper from students.

“I feel pretty passionate about helping the community,” she noted. This is something close to her heart as she knows family and friends dealing with the disease in some way. Kuhast also said, “I used this as an opportunity to teach my daughter the importance of helping others.”

Jump Rope for Heart has been around for about 35 years. Thanks to the support of teachers and parents who help to run these events, the American Heart Association has been able to impact many lives. Money raised is used for research and has even funded scientists who went on to eventually win Nobel Prizes for their work.

The American Heart Association works with health care providers to reduce the number of people who die from heart disease and stroke by 25 percent.

According to the American Heart Association, some heart attacks are sudden and intense where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected are not sure what is wrong and wait too long before getting help. Signs that can mean a heart attack is happening include chest discomfort; discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as one or both arms, back neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort; other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

For more information on the American Heart Association, visit www.heart.org.