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St. Alphonsus students pump up American Heart Association

| Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, 9:31 p.m.
Cranberry Journal
Luke's Team at the 2012 Cranberry Heart Walk. Submitted

The St. Alphonsus School community in Wexford recently donated more than $2,500 to the American Heart Association and also walked with “Luke's Team” at the recent Cranberry Heart Walk fundraiser. “Luke's Team” is named for Luke Ball, a second grade student and heart transplant recipient at the school. According to his parents, John and Stacie Ball of Cranberry, Luke is alive today as a result of the many medical and technological improvements that were driven by the American Heart Association.

St. Alphonsus has rallied behind the Ball family to support them and the American Heart Association for the past two years. This year, more than 100 parents, students, faculty and staff participated in the Cranberry Heart Walk. In addition, the Friday before the event, students donated $1 each to be out of school uniform (a “dress down” day), which became part of the school community's contribution.

Now a healthy eight-year-old boy, Luke faced impossible survival odds at birth. Born with a congenital heart defect, he underwent two surgeries before his first birthday while living in Oregon. Realizing that their son would need significant, ongoing medical care, John and Stacie moved their family to Cranberry Township in 2008 so that Luke could be treated at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital, ultimately receiving a heart transplant on Dec. 29, 2010 - a Christmas miracle.

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