It’s a cause so big, and so personal, one roof couldn’t contain it.
On Feb. 20, friends of Alex Lamparter and those who want to help will gather for three hours for a fitness expo.
“We keep adding venues because we keep adding people,” said organizer and family friend Lisa Pereira.
Lamparter of Lake Wylie and a high school junior, was diagnosed last year with a rare bone cancer. She kept up with classes until just before winter break but has been unable to attend since. Lamparter received a special diploma from the Clover School District earlier this month.
Fitness expo organizers planned the Feb. 20 benefit at the YMCA branch in Lake Wylie. It has grown to include CrossFit Lake Wylie and Lake Wylie Bowl N’ Bounce and Oakridge Middle School gym.
“I have not met Alex but from all I have read and heard about her, she is a special person,” said Darrin Skinner, owner of Bowl N’ Bounce. “I’m thrilled to see how much this community has supported her
The bowling alley will host a Zumba event that night, with bowling and bouncing open during the benefit.
“They thought Bowl N’ Bounce would set up perfectly for the Zumba event with our space, sound and lighting systems,” he said. “I thought it was a terrific idea and was glad they asked us to be included.”
It’s the same sentiment as YMCA and CrossFit instructors offering their time and training.
“They are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts,” Pereira said.
Exercise classes and training sessions will be held in 20- or 30-minute cycles at each location, with the Oakridge Middle gym set aside for a Zumba dance party for teens. Child care is available at multiple locations. Businesses will offer deals to participants, and raffles will help raise money for family medical expenses.
“It’s going to be huge,” Pereira said. “I’ve personally never seen anything like this. I’ve never seen a community come together like this.”
With more than a week remaining, more than 200 tickets have been sold.
Andrea Gunn, a personal trainer and fitness instructor, met Lamparter a month ago. Gunn said her own daughter was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma at 7 months old. Gunn’s daughter beat the odds and is 8 years old.
Gunn knows not only the emotional toll, but the financial costs. The fitness expo hopes to raise $30,000.
“We understand the ramifications of the financial aspect of it,” Gunn said.
Organizers are planning for more than 1,000 participants.
“It has exploded beyond our wildest expectations,” Gunn said.
Nic Frega at CrossFit said two fitness groups partnering for the Lamparter family is about serving the community.
“We like to jump on any opportunity we can to help someone,” he said.
Event organizers hope the event reminds the family their neighbors care.
“It’s to show the family that we love them, that we will support them and stand behind them,” Gunn said.