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Stoneleigh Elementary first-grader shows big heart with fundraising efforts

Drew Bove poses with Stoneleigh Elementary School gym teachers Matt Berkey, left, and Tim Lane. They painted themselves red for this year's Kid’s Heart Challenge celebration. The school raised more than 150 percent of its goal and Drew garnered more than $9,000.
Drew Bove poses with Stoneleigh Elementary School gym teachers Matt Berkey, left, and Tim Lane. They painted themselves red for this year's Kid’s Heart Challenge celebration. The school raised more than 150 percent of its goal and Drew garnered more than $9,000. (Courtesy Photo/Britney Bove)

Drew Bove is a little guy with a big heart, and huge ideas when it comes to the Kid’s Heart Challenge. The Stoneleigh Elementary first-grader has proved once again to be a top fundraiser for the American Heart Association. With $9,055 raised in this year’s challenge, Drew’s stellar efforts have now brought in more than $16,000 in donations over the two campaigns in which he has participated.

Drew rallied his mom, Britney, dad, Patrick, and younger brother, Danny, as well as his grandparents, Chris and Sivi Smith. He kicked off the fundraising with $13 — the contents of his piggybank, and then began a mission to log push-ups and sit-ups, and track steps. Britney and Patrick spread the word to friends and family, sharing daily videos on Facebook of Drew working hard. At dinnertime, Patrick would read the family comments from those Drew had motivated to donate and to take healthy actions of their own.

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Drew set an ambitious target of $10,000 for this year’s event. “I set a high goal because I wanted to help more people with sick hearts,” Drew explains. His dad was on board. “Drew threw out a number and I thought, ‘Why not? Let’s see what we can do.’ I always encourage him to think big,” says Patrick.

A kindergartner at Stoneleigh Elementary raised more than $7,200 for the American Heart Association through a pushup for dollars campaign. The school-wide campaign asked all elementary students at Stoneleigh to jump rope or do other heart healthy activities for dollars.

Drew’s grandmother, Sivi Smith, welcomed the challenge as a motivation for increasing her own activity this winter. “I walked 59.24 miles for the 10-day effort,” she says. In one twist on the challenge, Patrick videoed a clapping push-up contest between Britney and her father, Chris Smith.

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Facebook friends were polled on who they thought would win, and the Boves donated $5 per vote. The 70-year-old retired Marine won the match, but both had fun. “It was my daughter’s idea to do a ‘clap-up’ competition,” says Chris Smith. “She’s very competitive, and I’m sure that being raised in a Marine Corps family has a lot to do with that. Sivi and I are very proud of our grandson Drew as well. He is very cognizant of how important community involvement is, and also the importance of physical activity.”

Originally launched as “Jump Rope for Heart” in 1979, the Kid’s Heart Challenge fundraiser for the American Heart Association aims to teach children about the importance of exercise and nutrition, and commitment to healthier habits that “make your heart happy” (including 60 minutes of daily activity, choosing water over sugary drinks, and doing good deeds).

Anna Morrow, 9, is an athletic fourth-grader at Stoneleigh Elementary School. But a rare degenerative neuromuscular disorder, Friedreich¿s Ataxia, is slowly stripping the Anneslie girl of her athleticism and could shorten her life, according to her doctor. Anna's parents and the parents of Anna's best friend will take part Oct. 11 in rideATAXIA, a fundraising bike ride in Philadelphia benefitting Friedreich's Ataxia Research Center.

Stoneleigh Elementary School’s campaign was coordinated by physical education teachers Tim Lane and Matt Berkey. SES set a goal of $30,000 this year, and as of this writing, had reached nearly $45,000.

“I feel really happy about it,” says Drew. “We did more than last time, and that makes me happy because I wanted to help more people this year than we did last year.” Drew’s advice: “Stay strong. Don’t give up. Try your best. And do whatever you can to help your heart stay healthy.”

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Thanks, Drew, for inspiration we can all take to heart.

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