I am
Show me:
Show me:
Como brothers take Jump Rope program to heart
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Como brothers take Jump Rope program to heart

Media Release - 25 August 2020

Skipping in the Heart Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart program has special meaning for Como brothers Jacob and Byron Waller.


In 2013, the boys’ mum, Melissa, came down with a nasty virus that gave her severe headaches. Suspecting meningitis, Melissa’s GP sent her to hospital for a lumbar puncture.


During this hospital stay, Melissa learned for the first time that she had a heart murmur. This was probably unrelated to the virus, doctors told her, but advised Melissa to have a heart scan as soon as possible to investigate the cause.


Two weeks later, Melissa was back at her GP’s office to get the results of her scan – and the news wasn’t good. Melissa was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. This can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.


Many people with HCM have few, if any, symptoms and can lead normal lives with no significant problems. However, in some cases it can cause shortness of breath, chest pain or problems in the heart's electrical system, resulting in life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms or sudden death.


HCM is usually caused by abnormal genes. “I was stunned to learn at the age of 35 that I’d had this potentially life-threatening condition since birth. I was also worried I may have passed it on to my sons,” Melissa said.


Thankfully, Melissa currently has no symptoms. She is closely monitored by a cardiologist and avoids strenuous exercise, as this can sometimes trigger a heart event in HCM patients. Melissa’s sons – 12-year-old Jacob and 10-year-old Byron – have regular echocardiograms, but so far are showing no signs of the condition.


Melissa said when the boys heard their school, Como West Public School, was doing the Jump Rope program this term, they readily signed up for it.


“They have such a personal connection to heart disease and really enjoy skipping,” she said. “They also understand how important it is to raise funds for research into conditions like HCM.” Both boys have exceeded their fundraising targets, as has their school.


Heart Foundation Director of Active Living, Adjunct Professor Trevor Shilton, thanked Jacob, Byron and all Jump Rope participants across Australia for participating in the program.  


“As these kids discovered, Jump Rope for Heart is lots of fun and great exercise, but it also helps the Heart Foundation in its important work funding lifesaving research and health projects.


“Heart Foundation-funded research has helped make big advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the past six decades, including genetic conditions.”


This year has posed some challenges for the Jump Rope for Heart program, with the coronavirus pandemic disrupting schools across the country, Professor Shilton said.


“In response, we have developed new ways to engage with teachers, kids and parents,” he said. “This includes some terrific online videos about skipping and heart health, as well as instructional videos on how to do neat tricks like the ‘Criss Cross’ and the ‘Awesome Annie’.”


Jump Rope for Heart is one of Australia’s favourite school physical activity programs, inspiring kids to embrace skipping as a fun way to get active. 


Since the program’s inception in 1983, more than 10 million Australian kids and more than 90 per cent of Aussie schools have taken part in Jump Rope for Heart. In that time, schools have raised awareness and more than $104 million to help the Heart Foundation fight heart disease – Australia’s single leading cause of death.


Teachers who are interested in registering their school for Jump Rope for Heart can sign up here.

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Full list of clinical guidlines and references for CVD, heart failure, ACS, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, SCAD and RHD...

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Fundraise to save Australian hearts

Join the Heart Foundation community. Together, we can make a real difference for Australian hearts. ...

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Support and resources for health care professionals

Our range of clinical and patient support resources are available for you to use in your daily practice....

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Aboriginal heart health

Visit the St Vincents Hospital NSW and Heart Foundation Aboriginal heart health website for more information...

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Support us and help save Australian hearts

Join the fight against Australia’s biggest killer by supporting the Heart Foundation.  ...

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Help Keep families together this Christmas

Together, we can make heart disease history. Donate today to help fund ground-breaking heart research and keep families together this Christmas. ...

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Heart Healthy Dinner Plan

Sign up now and discover delicious, easy to follow dinner recipes. Plus shopping lists, tips and other helpful information to make healthy eating easy. ...

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Cardiac Rehabilitation Advocacy

Cardiac Rehabilitation Advocacy

Blueprint for an active Australia 

Blueprint for an active Australia 

Blueprint for an active Australia 

The Blueprint for an active Australia provides evidence-based actions to help address physical inactivity....

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Building physical activity into urban planning and design

Resources available for built environment professionals to help guide in the development of active outdoor and indoor spaces....

Baking recipes

Baking recipes

Baking recipes

Find heart healthy baking recipes ...

Lamb recipes

Lamb recipes

Lamb recipes

Find heart healthy lamb recipes....

National tobacco strategy

National tobacco strategy

Frameworks supporting tobacco control in Australia ...

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

WEBINAR | The future of CVD risk assessment

Should population-based CVD risk assessment models make way for individualised risk prediction techniques?...

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

Supporting SA cardiac patients and health professionals with free resources

We want to make it easier for South Australians to lead heart-healthy lives....

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk assessment and management

Absolute CVD risk assessment is an integrated approach that estimates the cumulative risk of multiple risk factors to predict a heart attack or stroke event in the next five years....

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Kylie defied the heart attack stereotypes

Cardiac rehabilitation was a turning point for Kylie and essential to her heart failure recovery....

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Your heart is your most important tool

Men’s Health Week is the perfect time to think about your heart....

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Being a carer for a heart attack patient

Your role as a carer for a heart attack patient is an important one – explore some useful things to know....

The NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation Working Group

The NSW Cardiac Rehabilitation Working Group

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests for heart disease

Blood tests can measure the levels of substances such as blood fat to show if, and how much of, your heart has been damaged....

Cardiomyopathy; another health curveball for Ange

Cardiomyopathy; another health curveball for Ange

Cardiomyopathy; another health curveball for Ange

A story from Ange Foster ...

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

What is a cardiac arrest?

With immediate help a cardiac arrest can be survived. Learn how to save a life....

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Statistics and information on heart failure in Australia ...

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network

Heart Health Network is the Heart Foundation’s newsletter for health professionals delivered to your inbox once a month....

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Search through our tasty salad recipes...

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

We fund amazing researchers who have important stories to tell...