Delaware City School District students are sharing their stories of how heart disease and heart problems have affected them in order to raise funds for research.
The American Heart Association asked district leaders if they would like to be a part of a fundraiser called Red Out for heart disease research.
The association provided T-shirts for Hayes High School's National Honor Society to sell to students, staff and community members for $12. Students and staffers who purchased their shirts plan to wear them Friday, Feb. 1, for National Red Out Day.
During the basketball game that night against Olentangy Orange High School, the honor society will announce how much money has been raised for heart disease research.
Ariel Uppstrom, honor society adviser and Hayes English teacher, said Olentangy Orange raised more than $5,000, but Hayes students hope to beat that number.
Uppstrom said heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, and students want to raise awareness of the disease through the fundraiser.
The society has come up with creative ways to advertise the fundraiser, and students have donated their time to work tables and deliver T-shirts to students who have ordered them, Uppstrom said.
"The students started gathering stories from other students who have dealt with heart problems," she said.
One Hayes junior has had three open-heart surgeries due to a congenital heart defect. His story was showcased by the honor society.
"We really wanted the students to see that it is not just adults and older people that are affected by this, but it is children," Uppstrom said. "We even have a story from a young girl at Conger (Elementary School) who has suffered from heart problems."
In addition to the T-shirts, the society is selling red paper hearts for $1, on which students and staff can write the name of someone they know who has been affected by heart disease or heart problems. The society will post all the hearts together on one wall for students and staff to see, Uppstrom said.
"The heart wall is a great way to visually see how many people are affected by heart problems and that they are all ages," she said. "It's not just 10 people; it's hundreds of people we have in this district alone."
Those who attend the basketball game Feb. 1 will have the chance to purchase T-shirts as well as participate in CPR training with school nurse Eileen Duffy, who will be there with practice dummies.
"All the money we are raising is going toward research to prevent a disease that (has affected) many family members and parents of students in this district," Uppstrom said.