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Murray Students Jump for Health, Help Others

Mar 09, 2016 01:55PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Kelly Cannon | kelly@mycityjournals.com

Murray - More than $2,600 was raised by Murray students during the American Heart Association’s Jump for Heart event.

In its first-ever campaign, the Park Center hosted the Feb. 10 event, which brought together students to raise funds, exercise and have fun. Traditionally, several schools held their own events.

“This gives kids a chance to be active, not only in jump roping but in other activities that involve rhythm, fine and gross motor skills and socialization with others their age,” Marci Williams, Park Center director, said.

Park Center supervisor Shanna Nava, who organized the event, said that there was room enough for 10 stations and not only students, but their families to participate.

“It’s fantastic that families came together to have great fun and wanted to help raise money for those with heart disease,” she said.

The Jump for Heart program, held during February’s American Heart Month, is designed to educate students about eating healthy and exercising and to raise awareness about heart diseases and stroke, Cassidie Fenton, American Heart Association youth market director, said.

To introduce the event, Nava and current and former Horizon students talked to five elementary schools and demonstrated jump-roping tricks such as double dutch and pair jumping.

At Jump for Heart, there were 10 stations that had both jump-roping and other activities, including Double Dutch, snake jumps, hula hoops, single long rope, hoppity balls, jumping to the beat of music with Drums Alive, mini-trampolines, partner jumping, balancing and listening to their hearts.

“We hope students are getting excited about exercising and they find at least one station, they want to do again and again to keep their own hearts healthy,” Fenton said. “We’ve had about 65 percent of those who have come in personally know someone with a sick heart and wanted to be able to help them.”

Liberty second-grader Abby Rose, who liked the hula hoop station, came with her mother and Hillcrest Junior High teacher Missy Rose and three-year-old brother, Xander, so they could help their three-year-old neighbor who has had a heart transplant after being born with heart problems.

Horizon first-grader Katie Ketchoyian said she “wanted to help sick people” when she donated $5 and was given a jump rope and rubber super pup dog on a lanyard for participating.

Katie came with her friend, Lily Williams, who said her favorite station was “partner jumping” with Katie.

Katie’s mother, Jen, said that the girls were excited to come since they remember their school hosting the event last year.

“It’s a lot of fun here for the families to come,” she said. “Last year, it was at the school so parents weren’t as involved, but they watched films so they learned empathy for those kids who have heart problems.”

Viewmont second-grader Charly Strickland was partner-jumping with Murray High junior Rebecca Wilcox.

“I wanted to come help people who have heart disease get better so they can jump,” Charly said. 

Rebecca, who had been on Horizon’s jump team, said she, along with seven others, came to volunteer.

“It’s a great program and I loved it when I was at Horizon. My grandpa had heart problems then and ended up with a pacemaker and is doing fine. I just wanted to help,” she said.

Other volunteers included Murray High studentbody officers, Exchange Club and church youth groups, according to Soni Hirasuna, Park Center assistant recreation center director. 

“It’s great everyone wants to be so supportive of the event,” she said. 

Murray Mayor Ted Eyre came to the event, which was supported by Murray School District, as they announced it on their website; Clif Bar, who donated bars to participants; SLCC; Utah Jazz; Little Caesar’s and WomenHeart.

WomenHeart spokeswoman and three-time heart attack survivor Stacey Holland handed  out  bags with heart-healthy advice and information to women at the event.

“Any time, any place I can get in front of women and tell them my story or give them the warning signs or symptoms, it’s the best thing I can do,” Holland said. “Heart disease starts at a young age. We’re here to educate everyone.”   

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