Mar 20, 2013
Harwinton, Conn.—Nothing relieves tension, stress and even the doldrums better than some lively music and a little soft-shoe. They say movement and emotion are directly related. With that in mind, one Harwinton family is planning to combat the last of the winter blues by bustin’ a move – for a very special cause, of course.
The Forever Michaela Walk MS team, led by Emily Ollero, will host the second annual Zumba For MS at the Coe Park Civic Center in Torrington on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the team’s fundraising for the 2013 Walk MS, which takes place in Litchfield Sunday, April 21.
“Don’t call it a Zumba-thon,” joked Ollero, whose daughter whose daughter's Elizabeth, 17, and Emily, 14, are credited with organizing this event. “It’s nothing that crazy, just people dancing for a great cause and getting a serious workout in the process.”
Zumba is a Latin-infused dance workout that has become very popular within the fitness world. Combining rhythm with easy-to-learn dance moves, according to enthusiasts the two-hour workout is a fun way to get active. This year’s event will also include drawings for prizes.
As their team name suggests, the Forever Michaela Walk MS team, as well as the Zumba event, have been established in memory of Michaela Petit, the youngest victim of the tragic home invasion that occurred in Cheshire in 2007.
“Forever Michaela team events are meaningful on many levels,” admits Dayna Ollero, whose family will be walking in Litchfield. “They are somewhat bittersweet. But they are also a beautiful way to bring the community together to remember Michaela and her family for the loving people that they always were.”
Elizabeth Ollero, one of Michaela’s closest childhood friends, has been fundraising in one way or another since the loss of Michaela, her sister, Hayley, and mother, Jennifer.
“I support the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, because Michaela’s mother had MS,” shared Elizabeth. “I believe that fundraising helps me to continue the work of Michaela and her sister.”
For Emily, getting involved is a way to help her sister, Elizabeth, remain engaged. While Elizabeth is away at school, Emily has to take on the role of captain of Forever Michaela, and organized the Zumba event.
“I don’t want Michaela’s memory to ever fade away,” says Elizabeth. “It’s so important that they are not just remembered as victims, but as the beautiful and outreaching women.”
Registration for the event is $15 for adults and $10 for children 16 and under. Team t-shirts will also be available for purchase for $10. All funds raised will be donated to the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, to ensure ongoing scientific research to find better treatments and a cure for MS.
The Coe Park Civic Center is located at 101 Litchfield St., in Torrington.
For more information on the Zumba for MS fundraising event, please contact Dayna Ollero at 203-917-2985 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Michaela Petit’s story or the “Forever Michaela” Walk Team, go to www.forevermichaela.com.
To learn more about multiple sclerosis or to register for Walk MS, please visit www.ctfightsMS.org.