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Bleeding hearts for a good cause

The combined effort of three different clubs at Shawano High accomplished another successful Red Out basketball game on Tuesday, February 13.

Each year, Mrs. Kris Johnson recruits students to help organize this annual event that takes place at a high school basketball game around Valentines Day. The Red Out game raises money for the American Heart Association while also spreading awareness about heart disease. While elementary school students raise money for the American Heart Association through Jump Rope for Heart and middle school students raise funds through Hoops for Heart, high school students use the Red Out game to do their part.

Mrs. Johnson explained the evolution of the event: “We started off with a Hoops for Heart event as a spin-off from Jump Rope for Heart, but it didn’t really go over in the high school, so this is an extension of that for the high school kids. The Red Out is their way of raising money for the American Heart Association.”

Community first responders stand before the start of the varsity game

This year, there was a moment of silence for people who have lost loved ones to heart disease as well as a time when first responders throughout the community were recognized. The small group who coordinated this event also sold t-shirts and raffle tickets, organized a ‘dash for cash’ during half-time and offered demonstrations for hands-only CPR in the commons.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women and is responsible for around 610,000 deaths each year. Due to the widespread prevalence of such a deadly disease, many students, faculty and community members have been affected by heart disease in some way.

Senior Hannah Hass was among the small group of students who put the Red Out game together, but she also understands the personal importance of this event.

“I think the event is important because I don’t think kids in high school realize the scariness of heart disease since they aren’t always faced with it at this age. Through this event, the whole community can learn facts about heart disease and learn ways on how to help their family and the association,” shared Hass. “I help with this fundraiser because it hits pretty close to home for me since I have a heart disease and see their symbol at my cardiologist visits. Heart disease is a really big killer in America, so I think anything  people can do to help will be of benefit for the nation.”

Senior Ashlyn Ruen is a member of FFA, NHS and Student Council, the three clubs that planned the Red Out game. Ruen’s father is also a city police officer, which established an emphasized appreciation for the event.

“My family has had a lot of influence from the American Heart Association, because of heart problems,” said Ruen. “I think it’s a good thing to do, especially incorporating the first responders in, because obviously I have those connections with my dad. I think it is a great way to honor them.”

Swarms of students and adults clothed in red came together for a good cause with the shared theme of raising awareness.