Excel Fitness Raises Money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
By: Shawn M. O’Brien, Co-Owner of Excel Fitness
If you haven’t heard of Excel Fitness in West Hartford, CT, we don’t blame you; we are a small, but award winning fitness center with close ties to the local community. Excel Fitness, which opened in 2007, has two owners, Jeff Roux and Shawn O’Brien, along with a great mixture of 5 to 10 full and part time employees. In these four years, we have seen some of the worst economic times, the home financing debacle and a variety of worldwide national disasters and during this time we have committed ourselves to our local community with clothing drives, school supply drives and food drives. Although, we have a deep rooted commitment to the local community, our dedication and effort is even greater during The American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” our only true dollar raising event.
Excel Fitness got involved in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in 2009 and at that time we raised over $4100 and Mr. O’Brien became a Pacesetter (one who raises $2000 or more) for The American Cancer Society. We felt very proud of this effort and thought it would be a great thing for the business and our staff to continue this in 2010. During the months to follow our event, Mr. O’Brien’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, her treatment and double mastectomy was successful. She is now in remission.
The year quickly passes and Excel Fitness gets a jump start on the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event for October of 2010. We attended the kickoff breakfast and got emails out early, while Mr. Roux and Mr. O’Brien pledged to paint themselves in pink body paint if they hit their aggressive goal of $7000. We hit goal again and yes we looked fabulous in pink body paint running outside in Bushnell Park in Hartford, CT at 9am. Team Excel Fitness hit this goal and WE were more than happy to celebrate with some fun at an event dedicated to saving lives. At this point we had raised $11,100 for cancer research and as a team, Excel Fitness finished in the top 3 for companies and Mr. O’Brien, a Pacesetter again, was in the top 3 for participants in total fund raising dollars.
In the months to follow Mr. O’Brien’s father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2010 and died weeks later. The events while tragic only recommitted Shawn’s efforts to find a cure for ALL cancers. Welcome 2011’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Kickoff Breakfast and Mr. O’Brien is now a keynote speaker for “How to Fund Raise” at the event. With his wonderful and supportive girlfriend, Holland, accompanying him, he spoke about the emotional drive behind committing to this cause and the deep emotions of not only survival from cancer, but loss from cancer. He gave the very emotional “How to Fund Raise” speech with not a dry eye in the audience of a few hundred people.
Excel Fitness was deep in the fund raising protocol for 2011’s event. Excel Fitness had a wine tasting event sponsored by Wine Cellars4 in Farmington, CT and massages from Nurturing Hands in West Hartford, CT along with numerous raffle prizes and a door charge. 2011’s efforts were the most successful fund raising thus far. We hit $8141. Mr. Roux and Mr. O’Brien are both Pacesetters, Excel Fitness #2 as a company and Mr. O’Brien was #2 as a participant. Our goal of $8000 was hit on the last day of fund raising and all because we have a great team, wonderful friends, supportive family and most of all passion for this cause. Now finishing our third year raising money for The American Cancer Society we have raised over $19,000.
Excel Fitness may be a small business, but we have a large impact on our clients and community.