Richard Sim­mons leads huge ex­er­cise fundraiser in Hal­i­fax

World records for big­gest group hug and long­est line of peo­ple shar­ing a mas­sage set at event

Cape Breton Post - - HEALTH FOCUS -

HAL­I­FAX (CP) — Fit­ness guru Richard Sim­mons led a gi­gan­tic, marathon ex­er­cise class Satur­day that raised more than $1.1 mil­lion for a dig­i­tal scan­ner that de­tects breast can­cer.

Breast can­cer sur­vivor Joan Hel­son was among 751 peo­ple who danced, jumped and stretched their way through the all-day Bust a Move for Breast Health fit­ness event at the Hal­i­fax Metro Cen­tre.

“It is dif­fi­cult for me to say just how glad I am to be here, how glad I am that all th­ese peo­ple are here,” said the re­cu­per­at­ing breast-can­cer vic­tim, who com­pleted her drug ther­apy in De­cem­ber.

“Many of th­ese peo­ple have some con­nec­tion through fam­ily or friends with some­body whose life was changed or lost be­cause of breast can­cer,” said Hel­son, be­fore bounc­ing away for a Zumba dance-ex­er­cise work­out.

Zumba com­bines aer­o­bic and mus­cle-sculpt­ing moves with Latin dance to help par­tic­i­pants break out in a good sweat.

There was also a rol­lick­ing kitchen fit­ness party, a yoga class, Pi­lates and some­thing called a Bust a Move Em­power Hour the helped keep the crowd of fundrais­ers mov­ing be­fore Sim­mons took com­mand and ral­lied the troops for the fi­nal hour.

“ What an in­cred­i­ble place to be, and what a won­der­ful cause,” Sim­mons said to the crowd. “I couldn’t be hap­pier to have played a part in this fan­tas­tic event and to be part of this com­mu­nity move­ment.”

The event raised more than $1.1 mil­lion that will go to­ward the cost of a dig­i­tal scan­ning de­vice for a Hal­i­fax hospi­tal. Each of the par­tic­i­pants had to raise at least $1,000 to take part.

The scan­ner will in­crease the num­ber of mam­mo­grams that can be pro­vided for women in Nova Sco­tia and pro­vide more detailed anal­y­sis of cel­lu­lar ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties that could po­ten­tially lead to can­cer.

Two world records were set at the event — one for the big­gest group hug and the other for the long­est line of peo­ple shar­ing a mas­sage.

In­struc­tors guided the big group that over­flowed onto the ice sur­face of the sports com­plex from a big stage that fea­tured a pow­er­ful sound sys­tem and huge dig­i­tal screens that cre­ated a rock-con­cert at­mos­phere.

Com­pa­nies had teams par­tic­i­pat­ing and, in some cases, friends put to­gether teams to help raise cash for the dig­i­tal de­vice.

“ We’ve ac­tu­ally been work­ing on this for months,” said Laura Les­lie, dur­ing a break with friends Ben Boudreau, Cailin MacDon­ald and Tif­fany and Mau­reen Joudrey, who raised a com­bined $7,000.

About 700 women are di­ag­nosed with can­cer each year in Nova Sco­tia and at least one suc­cumbs to the dis­ease ev­ery other day.

“The dig­i­tal scan­ner is a crit­i­cal tool in early de­tec­tion, which re­mains our most ef­fec­tive weapon against breast can­cer,” said Hel­son.

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