Organized by a couple of Zumba instructors from The Fitness Place in Soldotna, Dawn Jackson and Linda Klynstra, Zumba instructors from all over the Kenai Peninsula gathered on the final Saturday of March to move on behalf of those stricken with Lou Gehrig's Disease or ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). ALS is a progressive motor neuron disease that robs people of their ability to move. The first Zumba event sanctioned by the national United We Dance to Cure ALS, ticket fees and donations of nearly $1,000 went 100% directly to benefit MDA's Augie's Quest to cure ALS.
In a story reported in the Peninsula Clarion Jackson said the event hit close to home because her husband's uncle died of ALS and she felt this was a good way to pay tribute to those who have been affected by the disease, "We can move, but can you imagine what it would be like if you couldn't move? So we are moving to help find a cure for those who can't because of ALS," she said.
"It was a lot of fun, a real 3 hour party for a great cause," commented Katie Jacobson, certified Zumba instructor and member services coordinator for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, "We had over 30 participates and almost all of them stayed for the whole 3 hours of the Zumbathon. We had participants and instructors from all over the peninsula, including Homer! We raised over $800 for ALS - the fundraiser was a huge success and a big thank you to the Fitness Place for letting us hold the event there," added Jacobson. Katie reported there were no injuries during the Zumbathon; however, she was contacted at her home where she was recovering from severe bronchitis. Other instructors that contributed to the event were Charlotte Coots and Holly Boyle of Kenai, Morgan Aldridge and Connie Nelson of Soldotna, Maria Santa Lucia and Jeana Cotney from Homer and Gretchen McCullough of Anchor Point.
"We don't have a set date yet of our next Zumbathon, but we will definitely have one! Everyone said they had a blast and can't wait to do it again. We had one male participant Brian Beard and he stuck it out for the whole class, was even his first time trying Zumba! But I'm sure it won't be his last," added Jacobson.