Analica Thymakis skipped through her first weeks as a school captain, finding success with an initiative close to her heart.

The Year 6 student at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School Georges Hall introduced a week of Jump Rope for Heart at her school to provide an opportunity for fun and fitness to peers while raising money for Heart Foundation research.

Eight babies are born each day in Australia with a heart condition.

– Analica Thymakis

Analica was diagnosed with sinus bradycardia, a condition where the heart rate slows, and had her first pacemaker put in at age two.

A third pacemaker surgery in Year 4 was not enough to slow down the keen athlete who plays representative soccer, training three day per week. She also enjoys swimming and dance.

“It hasn’t affected me too much,” Analica said. “I love soccer. Sometimes when running fast my heart does 120 beats per minute. Because my heart stops, it resets with the pacemaker at 60 beats. It does make me feel a bit ill sometimes, but after 20 seconds I’m fine.”

Analica came up with the idea to run Jump Rope for Heart during the school holidays and emailed her sport and class teachers and principal for their support.

Students skipped at lunchtimes from 12 February, ending on Valentine’s Day.

“I thought because I was going to be a school captain that it would be nice to start a new initiative at school that would inspire people and help people who have a heart problem with the money that we raise,” Analica said.

“Skipping is great because it’s good for your health, exercise and fitness. It’s not that hard and once you get the hang of it, it’s really fun.

“Eight babies are born each day in Australia with a heart condition. Jump Rope for Heart is good because it raises awareness for those who don’t,” she said.

“It shows that you can be happy and healthy.”

This article was originally published on About Catholic Schools on 19 February 2019.