Oak Glen Elementary kicks off ‘Hoops for Heart’ with special ‘Heart Hero’ guest

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Guest Speaker Juan Deleon (standing left of screen) spoke about the emotional experience meeting his heart donor’s family after his transplant. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)
by Jennifer Yos

LANSING, Ill. (February 1, 2020) – Oak Glen Elementary School kicked off its annual “Hoops for Heart” American Heart Association fundraiser on Thursday, Jan. 30, for its 3rd-, 4th-, and 5th-grade students.

The special assembly began with a multi-media “Kids Heart Challenge” presentation starring “Team Heart” cartoon characters promoting positive physical and emotional habits that maintain heart healthfulness.
The presentation included Lansing’s very own “Heart Hero,” special guest speaker Juan Deleon, who shared with the students his personal experiences leading up to and following his 2018 heart transplant. Deleon’s son Anthony, a 4th-grade student at Oak Glen, was in attendance for his father’s talk, as were Deleon’s wife and sister.

Students learned a variety of heart-healthy habits from Team Heart characters that encouraged them to Move more! Add color to their diet! Be prepared and avoid stress! Avoid vaping and tobacco! Be Kind! Help Others! (Photo: Jennifer Yos)
Guest Speaker Juan Deleon (standing left of screen) spoke about the emotional experience meeting his heart donor’s family after his transplant. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)

Students who choose to participate in the Hoops for Heart fundraiser and who individually raise $5.00 or more donations from family and friends will be eligible to attend Oak Glen’s Hoops for Heart basketball event scheduled for Friday, February 21, 1:30–2:30pm in the school gym. Participants will interact on the court with members of the South Suburban College basketball team.

Money collected from the American Heart Association “Hoops for Heart” fundraiser will be used to help children with heart problems. According the American Heart Association, more than 82 cents of every dollar donated is spent on research, education, and community outreach.

Oak Glen 4th-grade teacher Cheryl Barbaro stands before the banner created to welcome the school’s “Heart Hero,” Juan Deleon. This is Barbaro’s 18th year as an American Heart Association fundraising organizer for the school. (Photo: Jennifer Yos)
From left: AHA Youth Market Regional Vice President Stefani White, AHA Youth Market Director Whitney Smyser, 4th-grade teacher and fundraising organizer Cheryl Barbaro, Principal Michael Earnshaw, Guadalupe Deleon (Juan’s wife), 4th-grader Anthony Deleon (Juan’s son), Heart Hero Juan Deleon, Superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling, and Evilina Cuevas (Juan’s sister). (Photo: Jennifer Yos)

Oak Glen Elementary School is located at 2101 182nd Street in Lansing.