|Ocala, FL -
March 4, 2012 |
Published on Sunday, March 4, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.
When fitness instructor Lauren Taub decided to organize a Zumbathon to help raise funds for the new Children's Emergency Room scheduled to open later this year at Munroe Regional Medical Center, she hoped 100 people would attend.
The $15 ticket was supposed to include a T-shirt for every attendee, so she pre-ordered 100 T-shirts for the Feb. 11 event at the Munroe Auxiliary Center.
As it turned out, more than 140 people showed up for the 90 minutes of Zumba, a popular Latin-inspired dance-fitness program.
"We actually had to turn some people away," said Beth McCall, executive director of the Munroe Foundation. "I had no idea how popular Zumba is."
Taub said she was sad not every attendee received a T-shirt and that people who wanted to attend were turned away, but she was pleased with the amount raised: $5,500.
The funds came from ticket sales, sponsorships and raffles of 13 baskets that included items such as gift certificates and Zumba-brand jewelry.
Taub and other local Zumba instructors taught for two songs each during the event.
She said she was thrilled with the response from the other instructors; they included Kitti Surrette, Steven Markham, Susan King, Tanja Franklin, Traci Rivera, Dunia Corral and Heaven Colon.
"Zumba has this thing. It's like a family, and we're always willing to help each other out," said Taub.
Attendees included women, children and men of many ages and sizes.
"That's another cool specialty of Zumba," she said. "It's for everybody."
One highlight of the event was when teens Victoria Sexton and Laila Fakhoury sang a live rendition of Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" as the final cool-down song.
Taub said she originally had the idea for the Zumbathon after attending a previous fundraiser for MRMC's new emergency room for children. As a mother of three, she knows how important it is to have access to quality health care without having to travel to Shands in Gainesville, she said.
"We have a great medical community here, so why should our children have to go to Shands?"
She and her husband, Harvey Taub, a urologist with Advanced Urology Associates, were signature sponsors of the Zumbathon. Additional sponsors were Hallgren Contractors Corp., A Better U Healthcare, Legendary Trails, Downtown Chiropractic and Wellness Center, Dr. Robert Underkofler, Too Your Health Spas, Quivana and Ocala Eye.
To date, the Munroe Foundation has raised more than $1.5 million toward their $2 million goal for the new emergency room, noted McCall. Fundraising efforts continue through March, with the Final 4 For Munroe campaign, during which area merchants will donate a percentage of sales toward the cause. For more details or for a listing of participating businesses, visit www.MunroeFoundation.com.