• 39°

Students raise money for AHA

BURLINGTON — For more than 25 years Burlington Elementary has participated in Jump Rope For Heart, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.

The goal of the event is to raise money and awareness for heart disease, all while promoting healthy diets and physical activity to the participating children.

“I love to jump rope,” said fourth-grader, Alaina Cantrell. “I think it’s good to learn to be healthy and to do jump rope for exercise because it’s fun.”

For Cantrell, heart health hits close to home. She recently lost her grandfather who had heart disease. Throughout his battle, she says the AHA was there to provide a helping hand. Jump Rope for Heart is her chance to return the favor.

“It means a lot to me to be able to do this,” Cantrell said. “My grandpa passed away from heart problems. He had to have open heart surgery and everything. The heart association helped him, so I’m glad I can help them by raising money.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for nearly 25 percent of all deaths each year. Unlike illnesses such as cancer, the causes of heart disease are widely known, making education a crucial weapon to battle against it.

“Sometimes heart disease gets overlooked,” Lydia Pruitt of the AHA said. “We get caught up in all these other diseases, but heart disease is the one we have the most control over. Understanding its causes and doing things like exercising can prevent it.”

Last year Burlington Elementary raised more than $7,200 for the AHA, the most they had raised since they started participating in the event. This year, however, the school set a new record mark by bringing in more than $8,000 to go toward researching heart disease.