Haughton goes red for Rodney

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Rodney Guin was the inspiration for Haughton High School to raise $6,000 for the American Heart Association. A check was presented to Jill Lucero with the AHS before Friday’s game.

Community supports coach, AHA

“One school. One team. One heart.” — no phrase rings truer to the Haughton community after they rallied behind one of their own in a time of great need.

The Haughton High School Buccaneers hosted a Red Out game Friday to support the American Heart Association.

And for Head Coach Rodney Guin, this year’s matchup against the Tigers from St. Mary’s in Natchitoches hit very close to home.

Guin suffered a major heart attack in April 25 at his home. He was taken by emergency crews to Willis-Knighton North in Shreveport and later airlifted to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, where he spent many weeks recovering.

Guin was initially told it would take him 60 days to get back to where he was before the attack. After just five days in rehab, he managed to walk down a hallway by himself. He and his family returned home to an eager hometown on May 24.

The outpour of support from the Haughton community is something Guin never expected to see, but it also didn’t surprise him one bit.

“This community has always been supportive of each other in cases like this,” he said. “The town really pulled together when I was sick and supported each other as a big family. We really are one heart beat out here.”

In the days leading up to the game, the Haughton High School cheerleaders led the way with fundraising efforts by selling t-shirts, designed especially for this game.

This year’s Red Out game was organized by student leaders and members of the Haughton cheerleading squad and dance line. Cheer sponsor Kelli Shaw said the school is a long-time supporter of the American Heart Association, but they wanted to do something special this year in honor of Guin.

“Coach Guin is loved and respected by all the HHS students and the entire Haughton community and we knew they would want to honor him and support the AHA in the process,” Shaw said. “Our school spirit theme for this year is “1 school, 1 team, 1 heart” so we incorporated that into the shirt design along with the hashtag, #goredforrodney.”

According to Shaw, the cheerleaders raised over $6000 in t-shirt sales to donate to the American Heart Association. Haughton Principal Gene Couvillon presented a donation check at Friday’s game.

Pregame festivities also included recognizing of members of the cardiac team at Willis-Knighton that provided care to Coach Guin and also recognizing the Bossier School Board for its partnership with the American Heart Association.

More important than the win, Guin said the main purpose of Friday night’s Red Out game is to continue raising awareness community-wide.

“I never read much on heart disease until this happened. Now I read something every day on it,” he said. “We want people to be aware of this. Until it hits you close to home, you don’t think about it as something you should know about. We want to raise more awareness before it’s too late.”

Heart disease is the number one killer of all Americans, according to statistics by the American Heart Association. Stroke ranks fourth and is a leading cause of severe adult disability.

“Each year, these diseases kill more than 811,000 Americans,” the AHA states on its website. “Some form of cardiovascular disease affects more than one in every three adult Americans. Many suffer terribly from disabilities caused by these diseases.”

The American Heart Association wants everyone to understand the threat – and to know that cardiovascular diseases are largely preventable. Risks can be lowered by adhering to what we call Life’s Simple 7: not smoking, being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet, controlling blood pressure, controlling cholesterol and controlling blood sugar.

For more information, visit their website at www.heart.org.