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Students Inspired By Teachers To Successfully 'Jump Rope For Heart'
By Kera Mashek
May 21, 2014


As the school year comes to a close, a South Charleston elementary is celebrating a big milestone. Students there have raised some big money for heart disease research by jumping rope.

With every jump, students at Montrose Elementary school are getting in a great cardio workout, but this is about more than just exercise. Students are celebrating their success with the Jump Rope for Heart program: raising awareness and funding for the American Heart Association.
Jillian Vance and her brother Parker both raised more than $200 each.

Eyewitness News asked, "What motivated you to do that?"

"Saving people and motivating people to jump rope," Parker Vance said.

"Somebody on our mom's side, he died from heart problems, and I kind of wanted to raise money for people who have hear problems," said Jillian Vance.

At this school, the students are also inspired by two of their teachers, including PE coach Greg Garber, who leads this initiative every year. That's because Garber has heart disease, and he couldn't be more proud of his students for their commitment to this cause.

"You know, even besides raising the money, the kids--the exercise they get, the benefits of learning about cardiovascular health and also the sense of giving back to the community has just been awesome," Garber said.

A kindergarten teacher here at Montrose also underwent heart surgery this year. Taking a look at a heart board created at the school, it's easy to see that heart disease has impacted a lot of students in some way. Those are all reasons that the American Heart Association hopes will encourage kids to do everything they can to be proactive in trying to avoid becoming a heart patient themselves.

"It really makes them aware of how important it is to exercise, not to smoke, and to eat healthy," said Michelle Loehr with the American Heart Association.

To help, every student who participates gets a jump rope to take home. So they hope this program will encourage kids to stay active and healthy by jumping all summer long.

And at this rate, these students are jumping off to a good start toward a healthy future.

This is the 35th anniversary of the national Jump Rope for Heart program. In that time, students and teachers have raised more than $800 million, which benefits heart disease research and getting important education and tools, like AEDs, into schools.

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