Big Heart

A fourth-grade student at Lycoming Valley Intermediate School recently received one of two Young Hearts Awards from the Greater Rivers’ affiliate of the American Heart Association for her effort in honoring her younger sister with a goal and a jump rope.

In the fall of 2012, the Bogle family was told that their youngest daughter, Lauren, had several congenital heart defects, which would require open-heart surgery. It was when the family was going through this “dark time” last February that their oldest daughter, Emily, then a third-grade student at Hepburn-Lycoming Elementary School, brought home a form for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart event.

When the form asked why the student wanted to participate in the event, Emily simply put Lauren’s name.

“We had just met with Lauren’s heart surgeon,” Sherry, the girls’ mother, said of the timing of the two moments.

After several friends and family inquired on how they could donate to Emily’s Jump Rope for Heart fund, the family decided to set up a page on the heart association’s website to donate to Emily’s jump roping cause.

They set the goal of raising $100.

“We thought, ‘OK, we’ll see if we can make $100.’ Then we made $100 in about 15 minutes,” Sherry said.

“It just kept growing from there,” she later added.

The family quickly raised the goal to $250, then $1,000. By the time the event rolled around later that month, Emily had raised $3,225.

Emily said she “kind of” liked jump roping before, but she was happy to see so many people support her and the association.

When asked for her reaction to raising so much money, she simply said: “Wow.”

No matter how much Emily raised, Jason, the girls’ father, was happy to see their family’s situation inspire her to take action.

“I think it was neat that she had the initiative to bring this to us and then had the commitment to follow through with it,” he said.

But the good news wasn’t done yet, as Lauren successfully underwent open-heart surgery at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia in April. The family reports that she still needs periodic checkups but is doing well.

“She’s just doing fabulous. They just can’t believe how well she’s doing.” Sherry said.

“There’s nothing she’s not able to do,” Jason added.

Knowing that Emily’s effort has helped many in the same situation that they experienced, the family said they’re proud.

“It’s a huge financial impact for people that go through something like this and there are plenty of people, families that are less fortunate than us that have to go through what we went through or worse. So it’s nice to know that people like that will be able to benefit from (Emily’s work) and the research will also be able to benefit from this,” Jason said.