Dozens of fitness fanatics worked out a sweat Saturday evening for the “Dance for Zora” Zumbathon charity event, which organizers reckoned a success.
Nearly 100 dancers clocked up 1.5 hours worth of dancing at the Marianas High School Gymnasium, and these Zumba sessions were combined with rest periods to give way to the raffle draw, which handed out loads of prizes to lucky participants.
The event, organized by three licensed Zumba Fitness instructors, aimed to raise at least $1,000, a meager amount in contrast to the $25,000 needed to transfer 8-year-old Dora Grace Ada Camacho, who is paralyzed from the neck down, to a medical facility in South Carolina where she can receive the treatment she needs.
Amy Sletten, one of the instructors and Dora's former teacher at William S. Reyes Elementary School, said they were “nervous” because they didn't know what to expect for Saturday's crowd given the other events going on that night.
“I'm pleased with tonight's turnout. It actually ended up well. Everybody fit in the area and we're pleased with that,” Sletten said after the Zumbathon.
She noted that many ticket buyers did not attend the event. “Out of the kindness of their hearts, they still donated that money and bought a ticket even if they couldn't make it because of previous engagements. That was awesome to see,” she explained.
For the other two organizers, Elitza Stoilova and Jo-Ann Aquino, the Zumbathon showed the community's support not only through the attendees but also through the volunteers that helped set up the event and the many sponsors that donated raffle prizes.
Proceeds from the entrance fees and raffle tickets will go to Dora and her family. Organizers will continue to accept monetary donations until Tuesday, Oct. 23, before presenting the entire collections to their beneficiary.
Dora's mother, Jennifer Camacho Ada, said she was moved and overwhelmed by the community's support for her daughter.
“I'm thankful to everyone for making this event possible for Dora. Hopefully, we have enough to bring her to the States,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Saturday's event was the second Zumbathon to be hosted on island, with the first one held last year to raise funds to help the relief efforts in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
To donate, call Sletten at 989-1560 or Stoilova at 989-3325.