Students sell paper hearts to help raise money for 1st grader get a heart transplant

First grade student, Lamere Johnson at Johnston Elementary was diagnosed in utero with hypoplastic left heart syndrome which is a condition that affects normal blood flow through the heart and causes the left side of the heart to not form correctly.

Lamere was cleared by his doctors to attend school by hybrid learning and wears a backpack containing an IV that helps keep his heart valves open, his mother Contessa Culbreath said. Lamere’s classmates learned he was on a transplant list so Makinzie Corley, a pre-K assistant at Johnston Elementary School, told “GMA” she helped the students launch a special project on behalf of Lamere.

“We wanted to get our kids involved and, at the same time, give back to Lamere and his family, because they’re so precious to us,” Corley said. “As a community and as a school, we want to make sure that this family is prepared for when the doctor calls and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got a heart for him.'”

200 to 400 paper hearts are cut each day, and fifth graders bring them around the school each morning to see who wants to buy a heart for Lamere.

Each heart costs $1, and all the proceeds go directly into Lamere’s account at the Children’s Organ Transplant Association. The money raised will go toward food, travel and any expenses needed for when Lamere hopefully receives his heart.

Lamere’s school has collected roughly $2,000 so far, and the local middle and high schools are also contributing.

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