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St. Peter Elementary Students Jump for Classmate, American Heart Association

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ST. PETER, MINN. -

Whether it's jumping rope, hopscotch, or the trampolines, the St. Peter elementary students put their whole hearts into jumping.

Their classmate Olivia doesn't have that luxury.

Olivia's Mom, Julie Scanlon says, "To be very basic, she has half a heart."

Olivia was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome; to date she has had 6 heart surgeries.

Scanlon says, "She functions on half a heart so she has a lot less energy than other kids, not that you would know it a lot of time."

So when the school put on its annual Jump Rope for Heart event to raise money for the American Heart Association, Olivia was their added inspiration.

Bill Stuewe says, "It makes it a real world application, this is someone that is in the same hometown, this is someone they are going to school with, it makes it real."

Scanlon says, "She is it thrilled that the school is honoring her this year and hopefully that has inspired people to donors money for research."

Last year the school raised just under $6,500, the most in its history, and this year the were aiming even higher at $7,500

More motivation, if they reached their goal Principal Darin Doherty would dress up for school.

Doherty says,  "I didn't think it would happen, I didn't know if we could go that high."

Dress up—as in a bridesmaid's dress from the 80's donated by another teacher.

Obviously the kids did pretty well.

Stuewe says, "All the money is in yet but we are hoping we are going to reach $10,000."

As for Olivia, she is also doing well, for now

Scanlon says, "We just live very much for today, while she is healthy we enjoy it."

Because more doctor appointments and surgeries are surely in her future.

Scanlon says, "She's always known how brave she is and she is just thrilled that people all learning about hearts and learning how to look after hearts."

Showing you can still approach life whole-heartedly, even when you have only half of one to work with.