Once again Chadron students turned out in force to support the American Heart Association during the annual Jump Rope for Heart event.

More than 220 kindergarten through fourth grade students participated this year, according to teacher Linda Rischling, and they raised more than $12,000 for the American Heart Association. The school also decided to donate its gift certificates for physical education equipment, courtesy of U.S. Games for hosting a Jump Rope for Heart event, to Kolter Elementary in Houston, Texas, which sustained damage in Hurricane Harvey.

While the fundraising aspect of the event is important, Rischling said the awareness it builds in the students and their families about signs and symptoms, preventative measures, treatment and research is equally as important.

Each year, Rischling tries to highlight local “Heart Heroes” for the students participating in Jump Rope for Heart. Two more heroes joined the board this year, both Chadron elementary students.

J.T. Obando was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome at age five. The disorder results from a problem in the heart’s electrical system that can lead to irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, lightheadedness and sometimes cardiac arrest. The cause of the disease is unknown.

Obando underwent a cardiac ablation in Salt Lake City, Utah. The four-hour surgery, which utilized a new technique that froze part of his heart to correct the problem, saved Obando from needing a permanent pacemaker.

Abby Jamison was born four weeks premature and admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit in Rapid City, S.D., where her heart rate jumped from 150 beats per minute to over 320 beats per minute several times during her stay. Doctors were unable to determine an exact cause for Jamison’s abnormal heart rate, but she remained on medication to control it for six months. She’s had no incidents of an irregular heartbeat since stopping her medication.

Both Obando and Jamison, thanks to the treatments they received, can run and play just like all of their other classmates.

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According to the American Heart Association, some signs of an impending heart attack are chest discomfort, discomfort in other areas of the body, such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea and lightheadedness.

Stroke symptoms include face drooping, arm weakness and speech difficulty.

Call 911 for anyone experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.

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