Haleigh Miklic

Saanich elementary student ‘fixing broken hearts’

Heart and Stroke campaign hits home for young fundraiser

A Beyoncé remix blares through the speakers inside the Cordova Bay elementary gym as little bodies shake and shimmy wildly across the floor. But this isn’t dancing. This is jump rope.

Whether they barely skip over one rope rotation or they channel the spirit of a boxer in training, these kids are committed.

On April 26, all 266 students at the school participated in Jump Rope for Heart, an all-day jump rope fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Among the kids burning off energy for a good cause was Haleigh Miklic, a seven-year-old student for whom the event holds special meaning. As an infant, Miklic was diagnosed with a significant sized ventricular septal defect and pulmonary stenosis – or, as she explains it, a “broken heart.”

After open heart surgery, Miklic was given a clean bill of health. Sadly, her family was soon hit hard again by cardiovascular tragedy when her father suffered a heart attack and died at age 38.

Miklic surpassed her goal of raising $2,000 in pledges toward fixing broken hearts and has already set her sights on bringing in $3,000 in 2013.

“It’s important to other people’s families and it feels good,” said Miklic, who finds the double-dutch element of the event particularly enjoyable.

In 2011, Haleigh was the school’s top fundraiser, bringing in $1,270 of the total $11,715 raised at the school. Cordova Bay elementary has been involved with Jump Rope for Heart for 22 years of the event’s 30-year history and has raised more than $120,000 to date.

“(The students) get an inner desire to help and get so committed,” said Jean Prevost, librarian and event co-ordinator. “They definitely can make a difference together. That’s something that they marvel at.”

nnorth@saanichnews.com

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