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Madawaska students jump rope to raise funds for heart disease research

MADAWASKA, Maine —  Students at the Madawaska Elementary School recently participated in a Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser to raise money for the American Heart Association.  

Coach Dan Cyr at the Madawaska Elementary School has been hosting the Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser for the last 19 years. This year, his students broke the record for funds raised.

The event allowed 123 students from second to sixth grade to jump rope for 30 minutes (with breaks in between) on April 12 to promote health and collect the pledges raised during the preceding weeks.

“Our record for money raised was $12,417 back in 2016,” Cyr said. “This year, we broke that record.”

And by a considerable amount. The students raised $16,881.75, breaking the record by more than $4,000. According to Cyr, a major contributing factor to the increase involved the new technology that is offered by the American Heart Association.

“This is the third or fourth year that it has been offered online, where the kids join the Jump Rope for Heart website,” Cyr said.

The website allows students to send emails asking for donations to anyone whereever.

“I raised a lot of the money online,” said Nicholas Poitras, a sixth-grader who has raised over $7,000 total in the last three years. “My parents helped me email a lot of people they know.”

Poitras was able to raise $1,400 online this year. He also was able to raise $2,018 through face to face donations.

“I just worked very hard,” Poitras said.

Cyr attested to Poitras’s efforts and said that there are a lot of students who go above and beyond.

Although Poitras raised a total of $3,418, he was the runner-up to the most donations collected. Second-grader Blake Hodgkin raised $3,634 for the cause, which, according to Cyr, have much to do with one uncle’s contributions.

“I was a bit disappointed,” Poitras said about not getting first place. “But it doesn’t matter because I worked hard and did my best, and I just wanted to help people with heart needs. That was my goal.”

Both Poitras and Cyr have family or friends who have been affected by heart disease.

“I know people with heart problems and I want to help,” Poitras said.

Cyr’s brother passed away five years ago due to a heart attack, and his mother also has heart disease.

Since Cyr started hosting the program at the elementary school, he has helped raise over $180,000.

“It helps a tremendous amount of people and goes toward research and development for the American Heart Association,” Cyr said.

The program includes several incentives, such as toys and plushies, for the students to earn as many donations as possible, but Cyr also gives away door prizes at the event each year and holds pizza parties for the teams who raise the most.

Since the program is only offered in the elementary school, this is the last year that Poitras is officially allowed to participate.

“I have given him the option to come back,” Cyr said. “He is a very hard worker.

Poitras said he is probably going to do it again next year, but would like the middle school to consider adopting the sister program, Hoops for Heart, as well.

Follow Morgan Mitchell on Twitter @TheMaineMorgan

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