Reghan Haynes, a fifth-grader who devoted school fundraising efforts to her father after he died from heart disease late last summer, finished among the nation’s top fundraisers for the Jump Rope For Heart program.
Reghan, from Hays, Kan., raised a total of about $5,700, which is more than $5,000 more than her original goal and shattered the record at O’Loughlin Elementary School. Reghan quickly reached her original goal, and after her story was featured on the American Heart Association’s website, the donations shot up even faster.
Numbers are still being finalized, but Reghan’s final tally put her at No 7 in the nation for the school year as of early May.
“She can’t believe she was able to raise that much money to help others,” said Chrissy Haynes, Reghan’s mom. “She’s really proud of herself.”
This is the 35th anniversary for Jump Rope For Heart, an in-school fundraiser sponsored by the American Heart Association and the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. The event is held at more than 36,000 schools nationwide. All funds raised help pay for research and educational programs to prevent and treat heart disease, the nation’s No. 1 killer.
“It’s just been an awesome experience,” Chrissy said. “We heard from so many people who said Reghan’s story gave them even more reason to donate.”
Reghan’s father, Darren Haynes, was a flight paramedic who died in his sleep from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect while on shift Aug. 7, 2013. He was 38.
Scanning the online donor list, Chrissy says she recognized names of families of patients Darren helped over the years and even physicians from small communities where her husband transported patients.
This was Reghan’s last year for Jump Rope For Heart, but the Haynes family isn’t done. Reghan’s sister Briley, who was in first grade this year, is already looking ahead to her Jump Rope campaign.
“In two years, we’ll be doing this again with Briley,” Chrissy said.