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Area high school student works on heart disease awareness

Kelsey Potter, of Bridgewater-Emery High School, recently raised $1,500 for the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement. Potter worked on her "Heart Disease Awareness" project for nearly nine months. During that time, she not only ...

Kelsey Potter, of Bridgewater-Emery High School, recently raised $1,500 for the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women movement.

Potter worked on her "Heart Disease Awareness" project for nearly nine months. During that time, she not only raised money but also created awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 killer in South Dakota. The money will go toward life-saving research, education and community programs.

Potter raised the money through free-will donations at jars placed at various businesses, classrooms and basketball games in the Bridgewater-Emery area. She also helped design and sold red heart T-shirts and set up a table at a basketball game to sell the shirts along with trail mix, heart stickers, CPR masks and more.

"Since I am part of such a small community, everyone was very supportive of my project," she said. "It made a lot of them stop and think about how many people they actually knew that had heart disease. This also made them realize what a huge threat heart disease is and how they can help prevent it."

Aside from the fundraising, to emphasize the importance of saving a person's life, she partnered with a local CPR certified instructor, Anne Richards, to help teach CPR in grades 4-8 at Bridgewater as well as grades 9-12 at Emery.

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Last year, Potter's grandmother had open heart surgery to replace her aortic valve along with a bypass. Heart disease is prevalent in Potter's family as her great-grandfather and great-uncle both died from heart disease at a young age.

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