Jumping ropes, shooting hoops for a memory and a cause - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Jumping ropes, shooting hoops for a memory and a cause

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BECKLEY (WVVA) – This year's Jump Rope and Hoops for the Heart campaign at Park Middle School has a little extra meaning.  Students participated in memory of their classmate, Maddy Bennett.  Maddy passed away a year ago Tuesday from a heart attack.

"I miss her walking in the door.  I miss her saying, ‘Mommy, I'm home.' I miss her hugs.  I miss her smile," says Maddy's mom, Amy Bennett, who kicked off the event at the middle school.  "When she walked into a room, the whole room would light up.  It's just the kind of child who you would say, she's my child.  I'm so proud," continues Amy.

Whether participating in three-on-three basketball or a jump-off, everyone came out in Maddy's favorite color, blue, to celebrate her life and raise awareness about heart disease.

"We try to teach our kids that they need to have a family physician.  They need to have their check-ups every year.  They need to make sure that they're asking the right questions to their physician," says Angela Culicerto, Park's Health and Physical Education instructor, "They need to learn how to eat healthy and to exercise daily in order to keep their heart healthy."

Maddy had the condition, cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.

Though nothing could take away the pain of losing a child, Amy says seeing everyone come together in Maddy's memory made her day a little brighter.

"[Maddy's] here today.  I know she is," says Amy.

Proceeds from Park Middle School's Jump Rope and Hoops for the Heart went to the American Heart Association.  This year's event raised over $1600, about 50% more than they have in the past. 

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