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Rival schools join forces for walk

The Walk to Tackle Heart Disease will once again pit two rival schools against each other for some friendly competition Friday at Farmington High School.

After suffering a blistering defeat at the hands of its rival last year, the Farmington Knights are eager to exact revenge against the North County Raiders and bring bragging rights back to Farmington as the walk returns.

Recently, the American Heart Association, along with representatives from Farmington High School and North County High School, as well as members of the business community, took an hour out of their day to plan this year’s walk.

“The whole point of the walk is to raise awareness about heart disease and how it affects our different communities, and we want to decrease this number of deaths due to heart disease,” said Jen Rogers, the youth market director for the American Heart Association. “Last year, we raised over $28,000 in the St. Francois County area, which helped save many lives.”

The meeting’s main focus was to come up with ideas and a plan for the school’s fundraising tactics this year. During the discussion several ideas were discussed, including following last year’s lead and holding a raffle with all the necessities needed for a premiere barbecue on tailgating party, such as, a grill, tumblers and several other items.

This year there are three Heart Ambassadors — Gage Harris, a senior from North County High School; Noah Davis, a Farmington High School student; and Liam Ring, a seventh grader from the Farmington area. Ring was accompanied by his parents Anthony and Deirdre Ring.

For the three ambassadors, raising money for the American Heart Association is more than a school project. All three of the young men have experienced problems with their hearts.

Ring, the youngest ambassador, and his family began facing his heart problems when he was just an infant. 

“Initially, when Liam was born, they did not discover his condition, so we brought him home for a week, but he was failing,” said Anthony. “We did not know what to do so, we took him to St. Louis Children’s hospital and they were able to identify the problem right away and did the repair.”

Over the course of the 12-year-old boy’s life, he has to endure two more heart surgeries, one was a full open heart surgery.

When asked about the friendly competition between the two schools, Ring was pretty confident this year the trophy would be coming home to Farmington.

“I think we are going to win this year,” Ring said. “If we don’t, I think you will be able to hear me cry all the way to St. Louis.”

For Harris, his battle with a heart defect was much more recent. A year and a half ago, Harris had to have heart surgery to repair an artery. On April 4 of his sophomore year, he experienced chest pains. 

“When I went to have it checked out, they discovered I had a heart problem. I had to have open heart surgery, but in the long run it worked out. Everything is good now. I am healthy. I’m very active in sports and I run every day.”

Harris is pretty confident the Raiders will extend their winning streak to two years in a row and deny the Knight a chance of bringing the traveling trophy to Farmington.

“We are going to get really involved in social media,” Harris said. “We will also be going out into the community, asking for donations and talking to local businesses. I definitely think we will win again.

This year’s walk will be held at Haile Memorial Stadium on the campus of Farmington High School. Registration will begin at 5 p.m. with the walk at 6 p.m.

To help show your support, a Red Out T-shirt can be purchased for $10 and are available at Farmington High School, Farmington High School, Parkland Health Center and at the night of the football game.

For information or questions about the walk, contact Rogers at jen.rogers@heart.org or call 314-374-5366.

The American Cancer Association and students from Farmington and North County will work together to help raise awareness for heart disease when the annual

The American Cancer Association and students from Farmington and North County will work together to help raise awareness for heart disease when the annual “Walk to Tackle Heart Disease” kicks off Friday night at Farmington’s Haile Memorial Stadium. Last year, the two schools collected more than $28,000. Pictured above are this year’s Heart Ambassadors, Noah Davis, at left, a senior at Farmington High School; Liam Ring, a seventh grader from Farmington; and Gage Harris, a senior at North County High School.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com.

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