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“Zumbathon” raises money for breast cancer

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BRASHER FALLS — Close to 100 dancers and fitness enthusiasts from across St. Lawrence and Franklin counties will participate in a fundraiser to benefit the Zumba Global Research Grant for Breast Cancer Prevention.

Zumba instructors in Malone, Massena and Brasher Falls are bringing their three dancing communities together to raise funds for breast cancer research Saturday at Crapser Hall, 897 Route 11C.

“What better time to fundraise than October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” said Emily G. Sexton, Zumba instructor from Malone who rents the gym at Joint Council for Economic Opportunity’s Head Start, 9 River St., Chateaugay.

The three Zumba instructors, Ms. Sexton, Maggie K. Engels, Nicholville, and Monica S. Boyea, Massena, and their classes will make up a majority of the participants in the three-hour black light “Zumbathon,” from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s to give back to such a great organization,” Ms. Engels said. “I think there’s going to be a great turnout.”

Ms. Engels, fundraiser organizer, has been a Zumba instructor for three years and has been using Crapser Hall for her classes since the beginning of this summer.

She said the idea to have the fundraiser stemmed from her meeting Heather A. Hogeboon, Malone, a Zumba enthusiast who attends classes with Ms. Engels and Ms. Sexton.

Ms. Hogeboon was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2006, received treatment and was told there was little chance it would return.

“I felt like I was in remission, but then it came back,” Ms. Hogeboon said.

The breast cancer came back as stage 3 last November, just a few months after Ms. Hogeboon started attending Zumba classes.

“The journey’s been rocky, but I try to stay positive and strong,” she said. “Zumba is one of my main stress relievers, and I’m going to continue doing it as long as I can because it gets me through.”

Ms. Hogeboon started doing Zumba in August 2012, and has lost 143 pounds since then.

“Zumba is awesome because anyone can do it, and I’ve always liked to dance,” she said.

Ms. Boyea, who has been Zumba certified and instructing classes in Massena since April, said she hopes the fundraiser will get bigger and better each year.

“I had been thinking about doing one myself because my aunt, Elaine Doan, died of breast cancer in December 2010,” she said. “Zumba is amazing for your health, but it’s also great for your soul.”

Ms. Engels said that although this is the first time she’s held the fundraiser, she intends to make it an annual event.

“Anyone who’s been affected or families of those who’ve be affected can come out, have fun and let go,” she said.

Ms. Engels said organizers will be giving out prizes and selling raffle tickets and glow bracelets to raise money for the Zumba Global Research Grant for Breast Cancer Prevention.

The event is open to the public with a $20 admission cost. Participants are encouraged to wear white to enhance the effects of the black light.

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