Hearts Filled with Pride at Kids Heart Challenge

“We’ve done this event at Lee since 1996, so it has become a tradition  here. The kids really look forward to it,” said physical education teacher Samuel Thaler. “We talk about heart health and I think it just opens their eyes a little to a lot of things about staying active, watching what they eat, and staying healthy.”

The Heart Challenge wasn’t just for students. Many teachers picked up a rope and jumped too. Thaler whipped the jump rope around demonstrating some quick footwork and second-grade teacher Ethan Barnes hopped over the rope on one foot while his students kept count. Behavioral Interventionist Amber Smith managed to clear the rope while dressed as a box of  Conversation Candy Hearts and Lee Principal Angie Jefferson jumped in alongside.  Even TK Superintendent Craig McCarthy stopped by and jumped alongside students and staff.

“It was crazy, but a fun day for sure,” said Thaler. “I’m blown away by the amount of money kids raised and I appreciate all the support from the community every year for this event. It’s just incredible.”

For the second year, Lee student Georgia Blu Mosley went above and beyond in getting donations. As the top third-grade fundraiser, she collected $2,502 in donations – just shy of doubling what she collected and donated a year ago. It’s a program that’s near and dear to the third-grader's heart.

As a 5-year-old, Mosley was diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, the rare disease that seems to only affect children, can cause permanent damage to the heart. According to the American Heart Association, Kawasaki Disease is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. Mosley was lucky. Her diagnosis came quickly and doctors don’t think there is any permanent damage.

Mosley said Kids Heart Challenge gives her a chance to maybe help other kids with the same disease. “I like to help and maybe we can help save some people from dying from heart disease,” said Mosley. “I just want to do even more. It would be really great if all the TK Schools did the Heart Challenge and not just Lee.”

Mosley said jumping rope made her very happy. “It just makes me feel good an

d be able to help somebody else.”

Lee Elementary’s second-grade top fundraiser was Remy Henry with just over $656 raised. “I like exercising because it makes me feel good and helps me breath better. Learning about exercise helps me so I don’t want to get too lazy and I want to stay active,” said Henry.

Jefferson said she loves this annual event. “It’s important that we recognize Joanne Desy who started this in 1996 and we’ve just kept it going. I think the American Heart Association is a cause everyone can wrap their head and hearts around.”

“I just want to thank our amazing community again this year for their continued support of the American Heart Association and our Kid’s Heart Challenge at Lee. Every year our community just shows incredible support,” said Jefferson.