For the 20th year, Shelton School conducted its Brian Price Jump-a-thon on Valentine’s Day. Just about everyone was jumping for heart awareness in one way or another. Students in grades Early Childhood through six jumped rope to have fun and raise awareness for the Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS) Foundation. The event is named in memory of Brian Price, who died in 1998 of the syndrome. He was the grandson of Shelton employee Betty Glasheen, who, along with her daughter Kathy Price Martin, founded the Shelton event. The Jump-a-thon is held annually around Valentine’s Day, when nationwide interest is focused on heart health.
The Middle School Student Council jumped through candy hoops as they supported the cause by selling Valentine’s candy and stuffed animals, with proceeds going to the SADS Foundation. Other staff and students supported the cause by contributing an optional amount to wear jeans for a day. This year’s event raised some $2,000 for SADS.
The inherited Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) can cause fainting and sudden death. LQTS is an electrical malfunction of the heart that causes over 4,000 unexplained deaths a year among otherwise healthy youngsters. SADS is a disorder that, when diagnosed, is readily treatable through medications known generally as beta-blockers. It is important that all family members be tested for the syndrome once a family member is identified as a Long QT Syndrome patient.
Also on campus today was Shelton eighth-grader Bran Lackey. Bran was born with Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which consists of four separate structural defects in his heart that have already required multiple surgeries, and may require more. Bran has been jumping rope at Shelton’s Jumpathon since fourth grade, as well as for the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Jump Ropes / Hoops for Heart. Bran is now in his seventh year of fundraising for the AHA. The funds he has raised are used for research, science and education, and some for local schools with limited resources that need new gym and recess equipment to expand fitness options. For each of the last seven years, Bran has been the number one student fundraiser in the United States for the AHA, to date over $120,000.
The stories of Brian Price and Bran Lackey deal with medical conditions of the heart, each unique. But their stories go beyond the medical condition and connect on a different plane – they touch on the human condition, and what families undergo when a loved one suffers from or succumbs to heart disease. With the families of both Brian and Bran, each has chosen to create something positive out of situations that are not, or were not, positive. Each has chosen life-affirming activities and actions that move awareness beyond concepts.
Everyone can take heart that the actions of Shelton students will help many others