All hands on deck for a good cause: Elite Gymnasticsin Wheeler joins handstand world-record attempt

Written by Mike Siroky. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on September 13, 2011 with No Comments

Imagine doing a handstand, side by side with a friend, who is side by side with another and another and another … until there are thousands of folks doing handstands, all at the same time, linked across America.

The local link will happen at noon on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Indiana Elite Gymnastics in Wheeler.

The national link will hope to establish a world record for number of handstands, with the national beneficiary being the Riley Hospital for Children. The local group will be helping Riley as part of the national donation to hospitals in the Children’s Miracle Network. All handstand participants will donate whatever they can.

Others, perhaps past the handstand age, can also donate money or goods for Riley’s Parent Cart, which is available to parents whose children are hospitalized.

One of the most-recent Riley additions is the Simon Family Tower, the first phase of which opened in January.

It’s a 10-story inpatient building, which relieves some of the capacity burden. Riley had been operating at capacity almost every day.

Family-centered care is based on basic principles, all of which depend on respect and collaboration among providers, patients and families.

In family-centered care: Patients are treated with dignity and respect; healthcare providers communicate and share complete and unbiased information in ways patients and families can understand; individuals and families build on their strengths by participating in experiences that enhance control and independence.

The $475 million expansion project is scheduled for completion in 2013. It is named as a result of the largest ever single-family donation – $40 million – made to Riley.

Each year, USA Gymnastics celebrates National Gymnastics Day to raise exposure of the sport. This is the 10th year of the donation program by USA Gymnastics.

The annual events have raised more than $1 million in that decade.

The important point of the record, the group said, “All handstand participants have ‘feet up’ at the same time across the country. Activities can be planned leading up to and after the attempt, but the actual handstands must be done on the dot.

The organization will post the record on its website.

“We are proud to be a part of it,’’ said Shannon Burhans, of Elite Gymnastics.

“The girls are excited.

Burhans is excited that her group will be helping Riley, a hospital that her Portage Kiwanis annually assists. After they decided on Riley, another connection was discovered.

“We’ve had a few of our gymnasts have experience with Riley, as patients,” she said.

“And I’ve been involved with Riley.”

She said the Saturday event will include fun events beyond the handstand record. It is open to all who want to participate, members of Elite Gymnastics or not.

Right now, the club is accepting registrations, even for those “Who just wanna come and hang out,” Burhans said. Team gymnasts will be demonstrating routines and skills on bars, vault, beam and floor. 

Cheering will be welcomed. They plan to start the serous lineup between 11-11:45 a.m.

“As soon as we’re done, we need to send the results, with all the registrants to a special e-mail account at USA Gymnastics,” Burhans said.

“Really, we’re doing anything we can to donate whatever we can to Riley. The world record is fun, but this is for the children.”

Lisa Whipps, Elite Gymnastics club owner, is a former AAU Junior Olympic Champion.

 “We are very excited to be a part of making gymnastics history,” said Whipps.  “The idea of raising money for our CMN partner Riley Children’s Hospital while showcasing the sport I love just makes the event even better.”  “Really, we’re doing anything we can to donate whatever we can to Riley,” Burhans said. “The world record is fun, but this is for the children.

For more information, call Indiana Elite Gymnastics (formerly Lisa’s Gymnastics), 219-781-3295 or visit the national organization,

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About Mike Siroky

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the above excellent column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Mike Siroky is a writer and editor. He is a native of Northwest Indiana. He has worked in media from coast to coast. To contact Mike, email mikel@the

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