A group of students at Superior High School are doing their part to raise awareness and funding for heart disease and research efforts at this Thursday's (February 5) hockey game between the Spartans and the Lumberjacks of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.

Modeled after the area's many "Pink the Rink" events, Superior's "Red the Rink" night was planned in conjunction with February being Go Red for Women Month. Inspired by Mara Krysiak, a 2010 graduate of SHS who lost her battle with heart disease about a year ago, the group of students behind Red the Rink look to honor her memory and all those lost to heart disease.

Mara suffered from a hereditary heart condition that her mother is also dealing with. Her friends say Mara was a big advocate of heart disease education and organ donation awareness, and the organizers of this Thursday's event hope to pass that on to the student body and faculty at SHS and into the greater community.

Malley O'Brien, one of the students involved in the organizing of the event, shared with me that the school faculty and the community as a whole has been very supportive of the effort. Spartans Boys Hockey Head Coach Jason Kalin helped the student group shape their idea for Red the Rink, and Superior Chamber of Commerce President Dave Minor helped the group find businesses to offer sponsorship and donate money to the cause.

Ryan Yingling from Screen Graphics helped the group design shirts for Red the Rink, which are being sold by SHS students leading up to the game. Working with local representation from the American Heart Association, the group plans to donate all the money raised from shirt sales and other donations to the AHA.

Beyond the rink, some of the teachers at SHS are planning on showing a short YouTube video to classes about heart disease. The clip will offer information about the disease, what causes it, and methods of prevention. This and other educational materials have come courtesy of Nancy Hassenger, a cardiologist from Essentia Health in Duluth, who met with the student group to further help in the planning and execution of the event.

Malley and the rest of the group behind Red the Rink hope to see this event become an annual tradition to keep the memory alive of all those lost to heart disease and to continue to build awareness and raise money to help. While the group consists of seniors, they hope underclassmen will take on the cause and continue the tradition for years to come.

To offer your support, the students behind Red the Rink are asking students, faculty, and community members to wear red on Thursday, February 5. Donations will also be accepted at the game at Wessman Arena, which starts at 7:30 on Thursday, February 5.