NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -

In honor of her little sister Maya, 10-year-old Rain Webb raised more than $1,000 in a week’s time for the American Heart Association, adding to the total of $9,459 brought in by many of their classmates at Klein Road Elementary in New Braunfels.

More than 200 third-, fourth- and fifth-graders did their part during American Heart Month by using the Internet, social media and direct appeals.

Dixie Gaona, their physical education teacher, told her students Thursday their efforts will help save lives.

“You guys helped out with that by raising the money for them. Awesome job!” Gaona said.

“Just want to say thank you,” said Maya Webb, a second-grader who was born with a hole in her heart.

Gaona said by the time Maya was 4, she’d had two surgeries and later a stroke.

She said now Maya is a happy, healthy, normal 8 year old, thanks to physical therapy and the expanded research that led to successful treatments.

Maya’s big sister Rain said after what Maya has been through, “I feel really good about it that they’re helping raise money for research.”

Gaona said she has told students when she was growing up, she knew of children with Maya’s diagnosis who did not survive.

“Now that the American Heart Association has done all that research and all those studies, they’re able to save those lives,” Gaona said.

Rain said she was happy with the response at the school and in the community.

"(It) tells me that they care,” she said.