Only one school in the nation has raised more money for Jump Rope for Heart, a Heart Foundation initiative that teaches children healthy habits while raising funds for research into cardiovascular disease.
Together, the Our Lady of Fatima community has raised a total of $27,419 at the time of publication, with some individual students collecting nearly $2,000 single-handedly.
Olive Whitworth, a Kindergarten student who has had four surgeries to correct a congenital heart disease is currently the school’s top fundraiser with a total of $1,949.28.
“My mum taught me how to skip,” she said. “It’s really fun for me and it makes me feel happy – I loved the skipping disco because I skipped a lot.”
The disco was part of the school’s Jump Off Day on Monday 2 July, which also included performances, healthy snacks and lots of skipping.
The event’s organisers, Sports Teacher Taylar Puyskaric and Year 5 Teacher Melissa Flynn, said they chose Jump Rope for Heart because of fond memories from their own time at school, and hadn’t realised just how many members of their community had been impacted by heart disease.
“Reading through the fundraising pages, there are so many kids that were born with holes in their hearts, or they’ve had their grandma pass away from a heart attack,” said Ms Flynn.
“We were not expecting to raise that much money, so we were blown away,” said Ms Puyskaric.
The two teachers put a lot of effort into preparing for and promoting the event, creating posters, organising colouring and art competitions, and helping Year 6 students create a special performance. Ms Flynn even spent time before and during the Jump Off day dressed as Heart Foundation mascot Happy Heart, and took photos with each of the school’s classes.
Skipping ropes have been laid out every lunchtime and students have spent time learning how to jump rope or do skipping tricks. Many have been counting their ‘total skips’ to log on their fundraising pages, with top students managing more than 9000.
“We’ve actually found that it has decreased the issues on the playground,” said Ms Flynn. “The skipping has kept them occupied.”
Local businesses have also helped fundraising efforts. Port Hacking Café is donating tips and running a raffle to help the owners’ son Christian increase his $1884 total, and Coles donated fruit and veggies for students to snack on to keep their energy up as they skipped.
All fundraising totals were correct when this story was published. See up-to-date totals or donate at Our Lady of Fatima’s Jump Rope for Heart campaign page.