While fund-raisers come and go throughout the school years, jumping rope the American Heart Association took on new meaning when it meant students and staff would be helping one of their own.
Rockland students and staff raised $6,320 for the American Heart Association through jumping rope during physical education class.
It’s a new record for the school.
It’s a new record for Jack Iannuzzi, too, who raised $1,000 on his own. This is the second year in a row Jack, 11, was the top fundraiser.
“Jack was also our top fundraiser last year and he happens to be a kid who directly benefits from the American Heart Association research which helps him with his Factor V Leiden-genetic blood clotting disorder,” said Rockland’s physical education teacher Mike Kolar.
At the kick-off ceremony for the fundraiser, Jack's brother Justin Meyer, 29, who also has Factor V, was the guest speaker, Kolar said. Justin talked to the students about being one of two of the five siblings who have Factor V in the family and how he suffered from a stroke just a few years ago.
“Factor V is the opposite of hemophilia - our blood clots too easily,” said Kathrine Iannuzzi. “For instance if we sit too long, such as a long flight, we can develop clots in our legs that can travel to our hearts and lungs.
“With Justin a clot developed in his legs, traveled to his heart where he had a PFO or a hole in his heart, then went through the hole and into his
head leaving him with a golf ball-size part of his brain that died.
“We explained it to Jack that he has super powers his blood stops bleeding when he gets cut faster than other kids.”
Principal Jeff Knapp says he is proud of his students and teachers.
"I continued to be impressed with the overall character of the Rockland student body and staff,” Knapp said. “They have risen to accept this great challenge and I could not be more proud of their efforts as shown by the money they raised for the American Heart Association."
This year, Rockland wanted 125 students and teachers involved in the fund-raiser but 142 actually pitched in, Kolar said.
“As an incentive for meeting the extended goal three Rockland students will get to toss pies at my face, and an additional three students will get to throw a pie at Principal Jeff Knapp's face,” Kolar said.
The pie throwing event is set for 2 p.m. Friday on the school playground at 160 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville.
Information provided by Libertyville Elementary School District 70.