Each year, more than 300,000 Aussie school kids take part in the Heart Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart program. Every one of them is special – but nine-year-old Alano Huang is more inspiring than most.
Alano lives in the Perth suburb of Willetton and goes to the Rostrata Primary School. The Year 4 student has a degenerative muscular disease that restricts his mobility. He gets around using a motorised scooter.
When Alano learned his school was doing the Jump Rope program this term, he was initially hesitant to get involved.
As well as learning how to skip and logging their skipping time, participants are encouraged to raise funds for the Heart Foundation – and Alano felt it wouldn’t be right to ask family and friends for donations if he wasn’t actually skipping.
Alano’s educational assistant approached the school’s Jump Rope for Heart coordinator, PE teacher Brendan Burke, about ways Alano could take part in the program.
“We figured out that if Alano timed it just right, he could zip through a long rope being turned by two people. We also found a way he could ‘skip’ on his own with a shorter rope,” Mr Burke said.
“Since then, there’s been no stopping Alano. He skips throughout recess and lunch, as well as during Middle School sports. He has been updating me daily on his skipping and fundraising. He is really excited that he can contribute to this great cause, and it is so inspiring to watch his progress.
“I am very proud of all Rostrata students who are doing Jump Rope this term. We have 142 students registered for the program. Together, they have logged over 430 hours of skipping and raised more than $11,000 for the Heart Foundation – the highest amount ever raised by our school.”
Rostrata Primary is a long-time supporter of the Jump Rope for Heart program. This is the 15th year the school has taken part, raising a total of almost $70,000 for the Heart Foundation. Rostrata is currently the third-highest fundraising school in Western Australia. (You can find the school’s Jump Rope page at this link.)
Schools that participate in Jump Rope mark the end of the program with a “Jump Off Day”. This gives students a chance to show off the skipping skills they have learned throughout the term. Rostrata Primary staged its Jump Off today (Wednesday 18 November 2020).
“We are extremely grateful for Rostrata Primary’s ongoing support of our Jump Rope program and can’t wait to see all their new skills and tricks today,” said Shelley McRae, the Heart Foundation’s Heart Health Manager WA.
“As Alano and his fellow Rostrata students have discovered, Jump Rope for Heart is lots of fun and great exercise. It teaches kids about the importance of physical activity and a healthy heart, and as Rostrata has shown, it’s an inclusive program that all students can enjoy,” Ms McRae said.
“Jump Rope also helps the Heart Foundation in its important work of funding lifesaving research. Heart Foundation-funded research has helped make big gains in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the past 60 years.”
This year has posed some challenges for the Jump Rope for Heart program, with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting schools across the country, Ms McRae added.
“In response, we have developed new ways to engage with teachers, kids and parents. This includes some terrific online videos about skipping and heart health, as well as instructional videos on how to do neat tricks like the ‘Criss Cross’ and the “Awesome Annie’.”
Jump Rope for Heart is one of Australia’s favourite school fundraising activity programs, inspiring kids to embrace skipping as a fun way to get active.
Since the program’s inception in 1983, more than 10 million Australian kids and more than 90 per cent of Aussie primary schools have taken part in Jump Rope for Heart. In that time, schools have raised awareness and more than $104 million to help the Heart Foundation fight heart disease – Australia’s single leading cause of death.
Teachers who are interested in registering their school for Jump Rope for Heart can sign up here.