Heart to Heart


Stargate Charter School’s Efforts To Help Save A Life

Our beloved third and fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Joyce Bustamante’s granddaughter is in need of a new heart and the students at Stargate School have decided to raise money for the transplant and all related expenses.

Joyce Bustamante, has been with Stargate Charter School for 16 years and has worked with over 1,000 gifted and talented kids in our community. This fall  we found out that her granddaughter, Delanee, has a life threatening heart disease called “Shone’s Anomaly.” This is a disease in which the left side of her heart is not as large as the right side and that causes a lack of blood flow to her body. Delanee has been living with this condition and receiving treatments and surgeries since she was 22 hours old. The treatments are no longer working and Delanee is now in need of a heart transplant. Because Mrs. B has made such a n impact in our community, Stargate students have decided they want to pay it forward and help Delanee in any way possible on her treacherous and frightening journey back to health.

Students have been raising money for the last few years with a program called “Every Penny Counts.” Their initial goal was to raise 1.5 million pennies to represent every child who died in the Holocaust. Every Penny Counts decided to shift the focus of their fundraising and made a commitment  to donate their funds to a Delanee’s cause and so began the Heart to Heart Campaign.

“Every Penny Counts” continues to raise money, but that’s not all that’s going on. Stargate’s Student Leadership has gotten the whole school involved in the Heart to Heart Campaign  through several events. The week of Valentine’s Day we sold Candygrams which we delivered to the students and staff as a way to share the love. In that event we raised $1600. On February 28, we hosted a text-a-thon where kids gathered pledges and committed to two hours of sanctioned texting after school. Through this event we raised just over $1000. We are also hosting two Dodgeball Tournaments (one for the younger grades and one for the older grades). Our first tournament for Kindergarteners through fourth graders raised almost $1600 dollars.  The second tournament for fifth through eighth graders is scheduled for March 14 where we hope to raise even more money. Throughout the months of February and March we are selling Heart to Heart student designed t-shirts to parents, staff and students. Other events include a blood drive hosted by fifth and sixth graders, a locker auction for seventh and eighth graders, and all of the proceeds from the middle school dances. Everything is better with food, and kids get really hungry. So we have been selling smoothies at lunch, breakfast burritos before school, and concessions at sports games and other large events.

Another exciting event is scheduled for March 14. At our Spirit Assembly students will be duct taping our principals to the wall. Each $2 donation gets the student a 12 inch strip of duct tape, soon to be applied to the principal of their choice. As luck would have it, March 14 is also Pi day. You can be sure there will be pie at the assembly. We will also be wearing red to show support for Mrs. B’s family.

Even with all the work that Stargate is putting into this, no help goes unappreciated. Inspired students and families have been incredibly generous donating from piggy banks, girl scout cookie money, saving accounts and competition prize money. The surgery alone will cost $500,000, and Stargate’s goal is $20,000. Obviously students at Stargate are very passionate about helping Delanee and are willing to do anything to help her, no matter the cost. Help would be greatly appreciated to speed up the process of gathering money, so when Delanee is called in for her surgery, we will have raised enough money so that Delanee and her family have one less thing worry about. If you would like to contribute, please contact Stargate School at 303-450-3936 or our Principal Mr. Cochran at josh.cochran@stargateschool.org.