The friendly rivalry that pits Farmington Knights and North County Raiders against each other to raise money and awareness for heart disease kicks off Friday with the annual “Red Out” basketball game. It’s the first in a series of student- and community-centered events designed to support the American Heart Association.
Jen Rogers, senior youth market director with the American Heart Association (AHA), said the Walk to Tackle Heart Disease committee has worked hard to organize a month of activities.
“A huge thank-you to each of you for supporting the AHA again this year. Your partnership and commitment make an unbelievable impact on the AHA mission. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into making this event a success year after year,” she told committee members.
The campaign is sponsored by Parkland Health Center and First State Community Bank, as well as local radio station J-98, and is now in its 10th year.
It all starts with the “Red Out” basketball games on Friday at Farmington High School, where its Knights will face off against the North County Raiders. Fans on both sides can “spread the red” by wearing a “Red Out” T-shirt that’s available for $10 donations at the schools, at Parkland Health Center, and at the basketball games.
The games begin at 4:30 p.m., with the varsity game starting at 7:30 p.m. There will be a recognition ceremony right before the varsity game that will include appearances by heart survivors and ambassadors, as well as dedicated people who have raised thousands of dollars over the years.
This year’s Heart Ambassador is Farmington senior Landon Johnson. When Johnson was 9, he was diagnosed with third-degree or complete heart block. He had surgery in the spring of 2014, when he received a pacemaker. Since then, he’s been on the go. His pacemaker hasn’t stopped him from playing sports such as basketball and baseball throughout the year.
If fans want to know more about heart disease – including CPR and information about strokes — Rogers said there will be plenty of opportunity during Friday’s game.
“We’re going to have a CPR area where a video shows how you do hands-on CPR and then we’re going to have manikins where people can practice so they can understand how hard you need to push when you’re doing hands-only CPR,” she said. “We’ll share how the signs of a heart attack differ between a man and a woman, and we’re also going to have a table on stroke awareness, that challenges people to do things with their non-dominant hand, because it feels similar to the challenges stroke victims experience.
“And, of course, all through February, the students will be competing to raise money. It’s good stuff, and so important.”
The money the school districts raise Jan. 20-Feb. 17 will benefit AHA’s efforts in research, professional education and training, public health education and community service. The non-profit spends less than 20% on operating, fundraising and management costs and has earned a 90%, four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
It has funded such life-saving techniques as artificial heart valve, cholesterol-inhibiting drugs, and heart transplant capabilities.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or email@example.com.