Cooke students bounce their hearts out for a good cause

Heart-A-Thon committee members Lori Orestano-James and Les Kristt pose with morning radio hosts Jenn Desrochers and Eddie Wilson, WSUL General Manager Dawn Ciorciari, as well as Cooke Principal Chris Palmer, and Assistant Principal Melanie Hector

After several bouts of inclement weather, the students at the George L. Cooke Elementary School received their well-deserved reward for fundraising their “hearts” out in the 2019 Heart-A-Thon.

The annual fundraiser, which will enter its 42nd year in February 2020, is a partnership between the Catskill Regional Medical Center, radio station WSUL 98.3, and a committee of local, dedicated volunteers who commit one day each winter to soliciting donations over the airwaves. The entire fundraiser is a volunteer effort, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting local initiatives to support heart health. The 2019 fundraiser raised $110k and subsidized Catskill Regional Medical Center’s purchase of a TeleRehab system. 

In an effort to motivate the youth of Sullivan County to promote heart-healthy behavior and get involved in and excited about heart health, the committee invited each school in Sullivan County to participate in the fundraising effort, promising a bounce house party to the school that raised the largest donation. The committee judged donation size using a formula that took into account each school’s population to ensure equity among all county schools, regardless of size. 

Cooke students rose to the challenge and managed to secure the greatest donation, and on Oct. 11 bounced their hearts out under a clear blue autumn sky, courtesy of Perry Gips and local entertainment company, Party Master, who donated the prize. 

Click here for more photos from the day’s festivities.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2020 Heart-A-Thon, which will be held on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 at CRMC from  6 a.m. – 6 p.m.