Six-year-old Anna Merrifield is ready to be counted in.
Anna has made attempts at Jump Rope for Heart in the past when elder sister Elena, now almost eight, has been skipping with school in her honour.
But the Ballarat Grammar prep pupil has finally found her rhythm and is ready to lead her peers in a jumping start to Friday morning.
Anna also understands the annual event can help people like her, who have had heart surgery, with fundraising for the Heart Foundation's research, prevention and support programs.
Mum Merryn Merrifield said apart from the scar on Anna's chest, only quite noticeable to Anna, you could not tell she had had open-heart surgery to save her life at three weeks old.
"Anna's bright, friendly, compassionate and the funniest little girl. She loves dancing, her dolls and her friends, who she misses so much right now," Ms Merrifield said.
"Anna told her story for show-and-tell and other children started saying they had a sister who had a heart murmur or their grandparent had surgery after a heart attack. For a lot of them it's just about skipping but there is some awareness and a lot of children are putting the pieces together on what (Jump Rope) means."
Anna was born with what doctors thought was a heart murmur that would pass. Only, Anna's condition deteriorated.
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The Merrifields noticed Anna slept a lot more than her older sister had and her lungs heaved like she was using every muscle in her body to breathe.
Scans at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne revealed Anna had two holes in her heart - one between the upper chambers and one between the lower chambers - plus two other heart defects.
Drugs to help Anna did not work and cardiac specialists made the decision to operate.
Anna was home three days later and Ms Merrifield said her girl had not looked back since.
Ms Merrifield said Jump Rope for Heart encouraged children to be fit and healthy and was fun - and Anna loved having fun.
Anna is vying to break her personal record in non-stop skips - this was about 20 jumps as of Thursday morning but she was set to be practising more Thursday afternoon. Elena's record is about 145 jumps.
Without schoolyard skipping, the girls have been watching skipping videos to learn how to jump.
Ballarat Grammar has been involved in the fundraiser for more than 20 years. Pupils in grades prep, one and two will be on Zoom in a mass virtual skip - wherever they might be - for their morning meeting on Friday.
Schools can find more details: jumprope.org.au.
More than 10 million Australian children and more than 90 per cent of Aussie schools have taken part in Jump Rope for Heart since it started skipping in 1983. In that time, schools have raised awareness and more than $104 million to help the Heart Foundation fight heart disease.
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