School rallies behind cause that hits teacher close to home

Photo of teacher, Ray Alvey on Feb. 21, 2018. (WISH photo)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – More than 20 years ago, Ray Alvey was teaching physical education at an elementary school when he agreed to run an event called Jump Rope for Heart with his students.

It was the first of what would become two decades of fundraisers the educator would host for the American Heart Association.

“I had some American Heart Association people coming after me and I ran out of excuses to say no,” Alvey joked. “I finally said ‘Okay, I’ll try it’ and once I tried it. It was such a positive experience for the students and our school… It just kind of became a passion.”

As a teacher in elementary and middle schools, Alvey and his students have participated in Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart events.

On Wednesday, a “red out” will take place during the Noblesville West Middle School girls basketball games in support of Heart Month. The players, coaches, cheerleaders and fans will wear the color red to raise money and awareness.

The game was scheduled to be a culmination of two weeks of classroom donations.

The community’s passionate dedication to the cause would become personal in 2015. Alvey’s first grandchild, Jase, was born with multiple heart defects that would require several surgeries in the boy’s lifetime.

Doctors performed Jase’s first heart surgery successfully during the summer of 2017.

“I knew all along what we were doing. I knew we were helping people and that was my message to the kids, ‘you’re helping people you know probably,’ but to be honest once you really know them, it’s a big difference,” Alvey said.

The American Heart Association has listed each of Alvey’s schools as number one in the state in fundraising for multiple years.

The previous year’s red out event raised $17,000 for the organization.