February 21, 2014 at 9:09 PM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - When Mount Pleasant Middle School was asked to get behind the healthy heart message of physical education teacher Jessica Blomn, they literally backed her up by the dozen. Sixth grade fashion colored a hallway red for a photo-op with Blomn, who participates in the American Heart Association’s “Go Red Woman” campaign to help raise awareness.
The “Go Red” event is an extension of the school’s annual Hoops for Heart, which raises funds for cardiovascular disease and stroke research, and health education. It also dovetails with a current unit in health class on wellness and stress. That’s something the sixth graders can relate to.
“These kids experience stress every day,” Blomn said, everything from the novelty of navigating classes before the bell, juggling books and assignments, and moving up from their elementary schools to the stand-alone sixth-grade building with nearly 500 students.
“It’s a whole new world and it can be difficult for them if they don’t like change,” Blomn said.
Health class focuses on giving the students the tools to handle their stress, including calming breathing techniques and charts to help overcome the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Outside of school, Blomn is helping the American Heart Association spread the message to women.
See the “Go Red” video
You’ll hear women sharing their stories of surviving heart disease and stroke. They encourage others to take charge of their heart. They talk about the importance of exercise and healthy eating. And that’s easier said than done. “I don’t think women think about heart disease because they’re too busy – too busy with everything else,” Blomn says in the film.
Blomn is camera shy about her appearance on the “Go Red Woman” video. It’s difficult for the former college athlete to talk about the heart problems doctors discovered during a routine exam when she was 22. But getting the message out is vital: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
“I 'Go Red' for my daughter,” Blomn says of her healthy 4-year-old who has a cameo and last word in the video.
At Mount Pleasant Middle, leading by example with her own heart of gold, Blomn is inspiring the school to ‘Go Red’ for her.