For just $10, a child’s dream can come true.
The Children’s Cancer Foundation will be holding its second annual Zumbathon on Saturday,Feb. 23 in Alico Arena’s Auxiliary Gym from noon to 4 p.m.
Sponsors for the event include Campus Recreation, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Honors Program and Germain Arena. All proceeds will go toward taking 10 young cancer patients from the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida – along with 10 parents or guardians – to Discovery Cove in Orlando.
Klaudia Balogh, director of communications for the Children’s Cancer Foundation and the
coordinator of the Zumbathon, says that it is important that the money goes directly toward an event.
“With all kinds of fundraisers, you don’t know where the money’s going…this trip is something tangible,” Balogh said.
Balogh is the daughter of Istvan Balogh, who founded the Children’s Cancer Foundation in
Hungary 16 years ago. The nonprofit organization is registered in several European countries and came to the United States in 2009.
The goal of the Discovery Cove trip is for the kids to have fun, but Balogh has other hopes for the trip as well. Throughout the day, the children will spend time interacting with dolphins as a form of “dolphin therapy” which, according to www.livestrong.com, has been studied since the 1970s as a form of treating depression and other illnesses.
A 2001 article by Dr. Alexis McKenney and Robert Wolff of Florida International University said, “Researchers have found that Dolphin Therapy alleviates depression, boosting production of infection fighting T-cells, stimulating production of endorphins and hormones, enhancing recovery and reducing pain.”
A survey will be given to the children by 10 members of the FGCU Nutrition and Wellness Club before and after the trip to observe changes in emotional state and mood. Balogh wants to see these results, but most of all she wants the kids to have a great experience.
“I’m really excited to see the kids forget about what they’ve been going through and… have fun and smile,” Balogh said.
FGCU students are enthusiastic about the trip, too.
Sonny Halpin, a psychology major, is impressed with the unique fundraiser.
“I think that’s a great way to raise money,” Halpin said. Athletic training major Lauren Griffin agrees, saying the experience will be a fun one. “That’s such a cool thing to do for the kids,” Griffin said.
The Zumbathon event will be taught by 15 different instructors, all volunteers from the Southwest Florida area.
A $10 ticket provides entry to either the Zumba or Aqua Zumba event, and a $15 ticket provides entry to both, as well as a raffle ticket. Local vendors will also have tables at the event, including Frank and Jean LMT Massage Therapy.
Tickets may be purchased in the Cohen Center at the Zumbathon table on Thursday, or between 10 a.m. and noon at Alico Arena on the day of the event. Zumba will be taught in the Auxiliary Gym for 90 minutes, followed by a raffle, snack break and Aqua Zumba.
Istvan would like to encourage all students and members of the local community to attend the event.
“You’re having fun; you’re moving; you’re burning fat,” Istvan said.