Sumiton Christian School holds its Jump Rope for Heart program every year on Feb. 14. All the money the school raises goes to the American Heart Association, for further research, educational resources and treatment.
Mauldin is a firm believer and supporter of the AHA because her daughter and granddaughter would not be here today had it not been for the advancement of heart research.
“When my daughter was born, she was born with a heart defect. She had her first heart surgery at three weeks old, and then she had it again when she was three years old,” Caneta Mauldin said. “Both doctor Kirklins, James and John, at UAB, were necessary or she would’ve died right then.”
More than 30 years later, Caneta’s daughter Laura Mauldin is a living testimony of why programs like Jump Rope for Heart are so important. At 35, Laura has lived longer than “ever expected,” her mother said Friday afternoon. Thankfully, Laura only had two surgeries performed on her heart. However, multiple operations were suggested at first.
“Once they got in there and did the second surgery, Dr. Kirklin came out and told us that her heart was pumping totally different from the way it was originally, and they had to cut her heart all to pieces,” Caneta said. “So, she only has three chambers of the heart instead of four, but she is doing good, for what all she’s had done.”
As a child, Laura was not allowed to be overly active, and doctors had cautioned her to not exert herself by playing sports. Caneta said she told her daughter not to worry about excelling on the field or court but excelling in the classroom would pay off in the end.
“The heart affects everybody, whether it’s children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, grandparents — everybody has got somebody that’s had heart problems in their family,” Caneta said. “... They had told us that if she had been born four years earlier with this heart problem, they would not have been able to save her. Because of the research, they were able to save her.”
Students at Sumiton Christian raised $5,238.53 through Jump Rope for Heart this year, which is the most money raised through the program in the school’s history. Caneta’s granddaughter, Meleigha Mauldin, a second grader, participates in the event held annually at the school. In fact, Meleigha was one of three winners who raised the most money at the school.
When asked her opinion about Jump Rope for Heart, Meleigha said, “I like it. We raise money for the ones who need it, and the doctors figure out how to cure the ones who have heart problems.” She went on to talk about how exercise and healthy eating habits also make the heart happy.
Caneta smiled as she watched her granddaughter jump rope from one side of the court to the other Friday. She said she is proud that the school supports the American Heart Association and takes part in the Jump Rope for Heart event every year.
“Kids need to know and understand how heart problems affect everyone, and the [American] Heart Association can help through research. Every penny of it goes straight to the American Heart Association,” Caneta said. “... God is watching out for her [Laura] and for all of us.”