'Hoops For Heart' To Raise Funds For Heart Disease

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Physical education students at Payson High School will turn to the sport of basketball to raise money for the fight against heart disease and stroke.

The event, Hoops for Heart, will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 21 in the old gymnasium.

PHS teacher Peggy Miles expects about 200 students to participate the fund-raising event sponsored by the American Heart Association and American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Contributions, in the form of pledges, collected by participants will fund research and education about heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death among adult Americans.

"Hoops for Heart is a fun way to get young people involved in this lifesaving effort and make them aware of the importance of exercise for maintaining good health," Cristin Valentini, Chairman of the Board for the American Heart Association's Desert Mountain affiliate said. "The biggest benefit of Hoops for Heart, however, is that the money raised goes to fund potentially lifesaving research into heart and blood vessel disease and educational and community programs."

Miles, who will coordinate the shoot, said "Hoops for Heart also benefits students by involving them in community service and volunteerism."

The American Heart Association spent more than $235 million during fiscal year 1996-97 on research support, public and professional education and community programs. The AHA is the largest voluntary health organization fighting heart disease and stroke, which annually kills more than 960,000 Americans, AHA officials say.

Rim country teen-agers who opt to participate in Hoops for Heart obtain flat donations for their involvement in the event. In addition, Miles said, they can win prizes based on how much money they raise during the "Hot Shot Blitz."

In the Blitz, each participant shoots for a designated time, either one or two minutes - to be decided the day of the shoot, at pre-determined locations on the floor.

"The further the distance, the greater the point value," Miles said.

The gym floor will be marked with point values prior to the event allowing shooters to know how much their selections are worth before shooting.

For the participants, it becomes a game of strategy deciding whether to try the more difficult shots for points, or making a greater number of easy shots, Miles said.

Hoops for Heart was developed by the AHA and the American Alliances for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. These two national organizations also developed another fund-raiser, Jump Rope for Heart, that has been held in Payson in past years.

For more information about participating in Hoops for Heart, contact the American Heart Association at 1-800-242-8721.

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