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PECS celebrates Heart Month with aerobic activities

BRIGHTON — February has been linked to heart health since it was designated American Heart Month in 1964, with the goal of raising awareness of cardiovascular disease- the No. 1 killer of all Americans.

According to reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, Native Americans have good reason to take Heart Month’s message seriously. The reports found that Native Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than whites since the risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity and cigarette smoking, are more prevalent among Native Americans.

To help spread the message and educate Tribal members about how to prevent heart disease, throughout the month the health department held events on every reservation including wear red day photo ops, heart walks and blood pressure checks.

Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School stepped up and jumped up in the annual Jump Rope for Heart celebration Feb.15. To attend the event, students needed to raise at least $25 for the American Heart Association. Those who raised at least $50 got to douse dean Emma Johns with the makings of a chocolate sundae.

Together, the students raised about $5,000 (as well as their heart rates) during the celebration. Students participated in single, long and Chinese jump ropes. Others preferred a rousing dance party on the gym’s stage, a challenging limbo line or trying to master the Hula Hoop.

First-grader Raylee Turtle, 7, manages to jump rope in her patchwork skirt during the PECS jump rope for heart event Feb. 15. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Third-grader Bobbi Johns Osceola, 9, shows her skills on the long jump rope, proving the message on her shirt is accurate and she really is just that awesome. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Students watch as their classmate maneuvers his way under the limbo line during the PECS jump rope for heart celebration. (Photo Beverly Bidney)
Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at

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