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Hayward Schools Raise $100,000+ for Heart Research

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PHOTO: First-grader Tara Eckes of Hayward, Wis., was the leading fundraiser in the American Heart Association's "Jump Rope For Heart" competition. Only one community in the nation raised more money than Hayward, where residents contributed more than $100,000. Photo courtesy AHA-Wisconsin.
PHOTO: First-grader Tara Eckes of Hayward, Wis., was the leading fundraiser in the American Heart Association's "Jump Rope For Heart" competition. Only one community in the nation raised more money than Hayward, where residents contributed more than $100,000. Photo courtesy AHA-Wisconsin.
June 30, 2014

HAYWARD, Wis. - Only one school in America raised more money for heart research than the students, teachers, and community members in Hayward.

The northwest Wisconsin town raised more than $100,000 in the American Heart Association's "Jump Rope for Heart" program.

Kylah Eckes is a high school counselor and mother of three in Hayward. Her son Cole was born with a heart defect and spent 56 days in the hospital when he was 12 weeks old. She said he's just fine now.

"He's walking, he's talking, he's running, he's playing - he's destroying things, tormenting his older sister and his younger sister - just a normal little guy," she said. "We've got so much to be thankful for, and we like to think that it's an inspirational story and can help give families hope."

Cole's successful surgery prompted his first-grade sister Tara to raise money for heart research through the Jump Rope for Heart program. Her mom knew Hayward would be a top fund-raising school - one that ended up with the second-highest total in the nation.

"We're a small community," she said, "and everybody comes together and has a reason for this. And Jump Rope for Heart has really helped teach a lot of people in this community about how common heart disease and heart defects and complications are."

Through such programs, the American Heart Association funds more cardiovascular research than any organization except the federal government - with a total investment so far of more than $3.5 billion.

Eckes said the Heart Association has funded research by 13 Nobel Prize winners and has been part of many lifesaving advancements to help children such as hers - from helping to develop the first artificial heart valve to cholesterol-inhibiting drugs and CPR techniques and guidelines.

"It's because of other people that did this before that we really feel like we've received the benefits of the research and support," she said.

Cardiovascular disease affects one in three adults and claims the life of one American every 37 seconds - which is about 2,400 people every day.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI