Pembroke school approaches $100K mark in heart health fundraising

PEMBROKE, Mass. — Cardiovascular disease is about to become a costly burden for America.

A new study shows the price tag for treating strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and other heart diseases is about to skyrocket.

The American Heart Association says it will cost over $1.1 trillion to provide care by 2035.

Weight, diet, exercise and smoking all contribute to cardiovascular diseases.

The American Heart Association researchers say 90 percent of people over the age of 80 have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Battling the disease is the mission of a group of school kids in Pembroke.

After a decade of raising money for the American Heart Association, North Pembroke Elementary School is about to hit a major milestone.

The school is approaching a total of $100,000, raised through sponsorships with events like Jump Rope for Heart.

"(It’s) the sixth highest fundraising school in the state, and we have over -- almost 500 schools in the state that partner with us in Jump Rope,” AHA’s Lindsay Pietro said.

It began because the AHA's mission to get kids healthy and prevent cardiovascular disease resonated with physical education teacher Brendan Mosher.

"That's where all the fun really happened for me, those first few years when I realized how many children were into it,” Mosher said.

It's money that's needed more than ever, according to Pietro.

"This is the first generation that's expected to have a shorter lifespan than that of their parents,” she explained.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Massachusetts.

The most recent statistics say more than 12,000 people in Massachusetts died in 2013 alone.

But in New England, Massachusetts is the number one state in donations that go toward reversing that trend.

More than money, however, Pietro hopes the lessons learned early in life through events like these will have a lasting impact.

“They learn at this age that we can teach them that an active lifestyle and making good choices will benefit them for the rest of their lives,” she said.

Pietro added she hopes the lessons learned about heart health in school will be carried home, influencing families across New England.