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Jumping June fundraiser close to heart for Casper

Casper, 8, never met his grandfather who passed away one year before his birth aged 64 from heart disease. Now he’s raising funds along with his schoolmates by skipping during Jumping June to increase awareness of how to keep a healthy heart.

Casper Bishop

Ian Bishop, father of Casper, remembers vividly the struggles of his own father that led to a quadruple bypass many years ago.  

“I was 9 and my dad was 43,” he says. “We were on a weekend break as a family and he passed out in the sauna. Luckily someone was there to help and it turned out his main artery was 80% blocked and 3 others were over 60% blocked. It had crept up on him with no obvious symptoms. He was in for a quadruple heart bypass shortly after. It was a scary time and I remember the doctor sitting me and my brother down and telling us if we ever smoke or eat unhealthily, we’ll likely end up in the same place. It’s fair to say that was a defining moment in my life for the choices I would make.”  

After twenty years of doing his best to look after his heart, Ian’s father unfortunately passed away at age 64. 

“My dad had stents fitted in the following years, but his heart was weakened from his heart event and he eventually died in his sleep one night,” he remembers. “This was also just two weeks before a pacemaker was due to be fitted.”  

Next generation learning about the heart

“Casper was born the following year and we were gutted he never got to meet his grandfather,” says Ian. “But when Casper got a little bit older, he started asking questions about my dad’s heart issues and what he could do to stay healthy.” 

Ian had many positive messages he could share with his kids and he has imparted great knowledge about what everybody should do to stay healthy, but especially for those with a history of heart disease in the family.  

“The kids love being outside and getting active, which is a key part of Kiwi culture,” he says. “Casper has always had an interest in heart health after we talked about his grandad dying the year before he was born. It’s been great to educate him on the importance of heart health, living an active life, maintaining a good diet and getting regular check-ups when he is an adult, as obviously there is a higher risk in our family.” 

Ian has always known that heart health is a big risk factor for his family, as on his dad’s side there had been a number of heart-related issues and premature deaths.   

“We try to make sure that as a family we talk about these things so that it’s a priority,” he says. “But it’s also great to reminisce about my dad and share funny stories about him, because he was a really great guy that I know Casper would have loved. Then one day Casper brought home some Jumping June flyers from Riverhead school, and we leapt at the chance to support it!” 

Casper’s heart challenge

Jumping June is a one-month skipping event led by School Fun Run that helps get kids moving and raising funds for an incredible cause. As the grateful recipient of proceeds raised during the programme, the Heart Foundation is supported in their goal to help everyone in New Zealand keep their hearts fit for life. 

“Casper had the idea of wanting to do 1,000 skips a day and sharing his progress every day on Instagram to show his commitment,” says Ian. “It’s a great learning for him to set a goal for a good cause and follow it through. 30,000 skips is a huge target but I’m super proud he is supporting the Heart Foundation in this way.” 

The Heart Foundation is honoured to be the recipient of funds raised by Jumping June and massively grateful for all the amazing tamariki who have decided to take part this year. 

“It’s a beautiful tribute to his late grandad as well,” says Ian. “We hope the funds raised can educate and inspire others to keep track of their heart health and live a healthy life.”  

Casper and Ian are posting about his daily progress on Instagram with the handle @cabbyspeed and you can donate via Casper’s support page

“Any donations as he closes in on 30,000 skips for Jumping June will be much appreciated to support the cause,” says Ian. 

Inspiration and a heart-healthy future

Casper is extremely enthusiastic about the cause and wants as many people as possible to take part and help in the fight against heart disease. 

“If you put your mind to it, you can help a good cause and get fitter along the way,” says Casper. “My goal is to eventually do 1,000 skips all in one go!” 

At the heart of the matter is Casper’s reason for skipping, his grandfather. 

“My grandad died because of a poorly heart and I’d like to have met him,” he says. “Supporting the Heart Foundation can help other people to care for their hearts and get help when they need it. And being active is important too!” 

Ian also knows firsthand how initiatives like this can affect normal, everyday Kiwis. 

“Heart disease can creep up on anyone,” says Ian. “And in my dad’s situation that is exactly what happened. He was pretty active and sporty but he never went for check-ups. Now I’ve recently discovered that I have an abnormal heart – thankfully it is just ectopic heartbeats and nothing else, but it is a relief to know that my heart is in good health and the next check-up is in 5 years’ time. 

“The more we can support the work, research and education that the Heart Foundation does, the more we can help lower the incidence of heart problems,” he says. “You can’t control the family genes you are dealt, so make sure you get check-ups regularly if you are at risk, but there is a lot lifestyle wise we can control to have a good lifespan. 

“So my advice would be don’t put it off. Get in and get checked as the modifications you can make to your lifestyle in your 30s and 40s can have a major impact on your heart health into later life.”   

Visit Casper’s fundraising page

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