Local YMCAs raise money for leukemia

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on March 17, 2011 with No Comments

For staying in shape and living active, few things are better than the rigors of running, swimming and biking. Just doing exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle is one thing, but when they are done in combination with leukemia awareness and fundraising, the miles rack up like the odometer of a 1970s town car.

During February, 10 YMCA locations in Indiana participated in an Indoor Triathlon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Included in that group were area YMCA’s from La Porte, Crown Point, Hammond, Hobart, Portage and Valparaiso.

Participants competed against other Y members from across the state for bragging rights of the most miles achieved during 40 minutes of biking, running and swimming. Each participant paid a $20 entry fee, with $5 going straight toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in addition to personal donations collected on the days of competition.

Corporate Wellness Director Carl Zurbriggen of the Crown Point YMCA was the man responsible for setting up local branches to donate directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“The Y is for social responsibility. It’s our goal to not only provide fun, relationship building programs, but to provide for our neighbors,” Zurbriggen said. “Our volunteers and participants felt great to know that they were able to help such a worth-while cause as well as have fun doing it.”

An estimated 259,889 people in the United States are living with, or are in remission from leukemia. It is anticipated that approximately 21,840 deaths in the United States were attributed to leukemia in 2010 alone. However, because of awareness and donations toward research like those by the YMCA, the leukemia death rate for children 1 to 14 years of age in the United States has declined 76 percent from 1969 to 2010.

Dave Mays, program director at the Hammond YMCA branch, had the event hit close to home. A friend was diagnosed with lymphoma three years ago, but was able to overcome it with the help of research and development for his treatment. That friend will now stand next to Mays at his wedding this summer.

Mays himself now participates in “Walk for the Cure” events to help others with their fight against cancer.

“I was aware of the impact a donation or event makes, because I have seen it through the fight that my friend gave to beat the disease,” Mays said. “I believe it made everyone that participated feel like they made a difference, and it just really makes me feel good to see all the participants.”

In all, 218 participants from 10 locations participated in the triathlon. Of the participating Y’s, the Southlake Branch YMCA in Crown Point, the Hammond Branch YMCA and the LaPorte Family YMCA donated directly from its sign-up fees, with the other branches made individual donations.

The Southlake Branch YMCA raised $255, the LaPorte Family YMCA $220, and the Hammond Branch YMCA $75. Included in the Hammond donation was a contribution from Ryan Campbell and his wife, Nicole, members from Highland who recently joined up with the Y for the triathlon.

“It just makes you feel good and makes someone else feel good, so why not come do it this year and for years to come? It’s just a full circle of feel-goodness,” Ryan Campbell said.

“I think it just pushes you to work hard, and to take advantage of what you have and can do. Some people don’t have that luxury, and when we can stay active while donating to such an amazing cause, there’s no reason not to do so,” Nicole Campbell added.

Several area YMCA members, including the Campbell’s, were among the top finishers from around the state.

For more information about donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit www.lls.org or call 800-955-4572.

For more information about upcoming events at the Hammond Branch YMCA, located at 7322 Southeastern Ave., contact Dave Mays at 219-845-1507, or at dmays@hammondareaymca.org. More information is also available by visiting www.hammondareaymca.org.

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