I am
Show me:
Show me:
Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Matilda signs up for Jump Rope just one month after open-heart surgery

Media Release - 26 June 2020

Each year, more than 300,000 Aussie school kids take part in the Heart Foundation’s Jump Rope for Heart program. Every one of them is special – but nine-year-old Matilda Grimshaw is more inspiring than most.
That’s because Matilda started skipping for the Heart Foundation only a month after having open-heart surgery to treat a congenital heart condition.

In February this year, Matilda was diagnosed with complete heart block (CHB). Normally, the upper and lower chambers of the heart communicate via electrical signals to ensure they beat at the same rate. In CHB, these signals are blocked, and the faster rate of the upper chambers is not passed on to the lower chambers.

A “backup” system takes over, allowing the heart to continue pumping blood around the body, but at a much slower rate than usual. Before her surgery, Matilda’s heart rate was only about 35 to 40 beats per minute. (A normal rate is 60 to 100 beats.) Matilda also tired easily and had regular dizzy spells.

On April 28, surgeons at Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne inserted a pacemaker to take over the electrical signalling system in Matilda’s heart and restore a normal rhythm.

As soon as I saw Matilda after her surgery, her face looked brighter and she had pink cheeks for the first time in her life,” said Matilda’s mum, Jess.

A few weeks later, Matilda returned to her school, St Catherine of Siena Primary in Armstrong Creek, Geelong. She was excited to learn the school was participating in Jump Rope for Heart during Term Two.

With Jess’s help and her doctors’ permission, Matilda registered for the program on May 29 – only a month out from her surgery. “I am participating in Jump Rope for Heart because I want other kids with heart conditions to be able to have the same great treatment in hospital to get better like I have,” Matilda wrote on her profile.

Matilda can skip for about 10 minutes at a time and has raised almost $500 – well clear of her $200 target. Matilda’s younger brother, Rumi, is also participating in the program.

“Since having her pacemaker installed, we have noticed many positive changes for Matilda,” Jess said. “She has lots of energy and is enthusiastic about sports. She can enjoy running, scooting, skipping and riding her bike without getting tired. She can concentrate and read much faster, and is now devouring several novels a week.”

“We are amazed and grateful that Matilda is doing Jump Rope so soon after her heart surgery. She is very inspirational!” said Heart Foundation CEO VIC, Kellie-Ann Jolly.

“As Matilda 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 significant advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease over the past six decades. This includes the development of the pacemaker, which is now making such a tremendous impact in Matilda’s life.”

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

“In response, we have developed new ways to engage with teachers, kids and parents,” she 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 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.

A total of 198 Australian schools participated in the Jump Rope for Heart program in Term Two. So far, 436 have signed up for Term Three.

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

Media enquiries

Siobhan McMahon, Media Manager, Physical Activity
M: 0478 313 656 E: Siobhan.mcmahon@heartfoundation.org.au

Debora McInnse, Senior Media Adviser, VIC
M: 0423 827 697 E: debora.mcinnes@heartfoundation.org.au

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

Clinical Guidelines

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

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....

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 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.  ...

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....

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Try our Heart Age Calculator to understand what contributes to your risk of heart disease....

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. ...

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Nutrition after a heart attack

Discover key information on heart-healthy eating and drinking....

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

About the Lighthouse Hospital Project

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Australia, but the burden of disease disproportionately affects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples....

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

A nurse shares her top recovery tips for young cardiac patients

Pauline is a nurse and shares advice for young people who have had a heart event or are recovering from surgery....

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

Encouraging cardiovascular research excellence in NSW

A ground-breaking collaboration bringing together for the first time the state’s most eminent cardiovascular researchers...

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Food and healthy eating during COVID-19

Healthy eating and COVID-19 FAQ...

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Check out our recipe categories to find your next heart healthy meal....

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Key Statistics: Heart Failure

Our research stories

Our research stories

Our research stories

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

Get your family moving

Get your family moving

Get your family moving

Get your kids active and set them up for healthier habits into adulthood....

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Join Kate in making a difference to future generations

Kate wanted to find a way she could make a difference to future generations...

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

What waist measurements mean for your heart

How your waist measurement contributes to your heart health...

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Every day, 22 women lose their lives to this condition....

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

How to volunteer with us

Join our volunteers and make a difference to the heart health of Australians....

Heart Foundation Tick

Heart Foundation Tick

Heart Foundation Tick

The Tick Program has made a substantial contribution to the health of Australians over the past 26 years....

State based advocacy

State based advocacy

State based advocacy activity supporting local communities...

For Professionals: Cardiac Rehabilitation Patient Resources

For Professionals: Cardiac Rehabilitation Patient Resources

Smoking and tobacco regulation

Smoking and tobacco regulation

There are still more than 15,000 deaths caused by smoking every year....

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

Our corporate partners

We value the support of all of our corporate partners....

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Benefits of physical activity for your heart

Physical activity and exercise can do wonders for your physical and mental health....

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Every dollar that you donate will help fund research, support and programs that help save lives....

My Heart, My Life Mobile App

My Heart, My Life Mobile App

A mobile app to help you manage your heart health....