YAS-A-THON for ThinkCure Hits it Out of the Park: $140,000 Raised, 270,000 Calories Burned!

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The Dodger's Annual ThinkCure Weekend to raise money for cancer research in Los Angeles took place June 10-12 at Dodger Stadium and YAS-A-THON for Thinkcure—YAS Fitness Centers' fundraising for the event—took in more than $140,000. That made YAS the largest single donor of ThinkCure Weekend. Talk about a home run!

YAS Founder Kimberly Fowler, presents check to ThinkCure

Kimberly and YAS really stepped up for ThinkCure, said Janet Clayton, ThinkCure's president. It was clear that many people participated because of their commitment to the cancer cause, but also because of theyreally wanted to deliver for Kimberly and YAS.

YAS's founder and owner, Kimberly Fowler, an athlete and cancer survivor herself, was clearly pumped as she and Sherri Rosen, YAS VP of Operations, presented a very large check to ThinkCure, the official charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers, on the field at the Saturday night's game.

YAS-A-THON's three hours of indoor cycling at four Los Angeles-area YAS locations took place on June 6, the Sunday prior to ThinkCure Weekend. In addition to burning a whole lot of calories, the indoor cycling marathons (and silent auctions that accompanied them) significantly raised the bar for YAS fundraising.

"YAS has hosted many fundraisers since opening in 2001," says Fowler. "Giving back to the community is a big part of what YAS is all about. But the amount of money we raised for ThinkCure was unprecedented for us and, I think, the fitness community in general."

Fowler joined Fox Sports' Patrick O'Neil and ThinkCure president Janet Clayton on the air to encourage viewers to continue giving to the Dodger's cancer-fighting charity. Along the way, O'Neil playfully engaged Fowler in a "gun show," impressed as he was by her "yoga arms." Fowler, whose new book "The No OM Zone: No Chanting, No Granola, No Sanskrit" arrives in bookstores July 6, is a leading yoga expert, in addition to being a longtime, dedicated fundraiser for community and global causes.

"Kimberly and YAS really stepped up for ThinkCure," said Janet Clayton, ThinkCure's president. "I visited YAS Venice during the YAS-A-THON. It was clear that many people participated because of their commitment to the cancer cause, but also because of they really wanted to deliver for Kimberly and YAS."

The $140,000 raised by YAS, nearly three times what its prior fundraisers have earned, is due in part to YAS's growth: This year, locations in Silverlake, Downtown LA, East Costa Mesa and Venice participated, up from YAS's single, original Venice location going it alone when their fundraising efforts began nearly a decade ago. But Fowler insists other forces were at work, as well.

"Cancer touches everyone," Fowler says. "Working with the YAS family and ThinkCure on this holds special meaning for me, as it does for so many who have been affected one way or another by the disease."

Sherri Rosen, YAS VP of Operations says social networks like Facebook were a big factor in this year's fundraising efforts, as well, as more YAS students, instructors, friends and families spread the word online about causes dear to them. Still, she thinks the key to YAS's fundraising is its members.

"It's amazing how passionate people that come to YAS are," says Rosen. "To see everyone together just giving it their all was magical for me."

YAS's fundraising over the years also contributed to its ability to raise so much money so quickly this time around.

"Our experience at this really paid off," says Fowler. "ThinkCure is an outstanding partner, and we couldn't have done it without them. But (fundraising) has become second nature to YAS members, who have become incredibly passionate about giving back to the community."

Amy Horwitch, who coordinated YAS's silent auction that kicked off its fundraiser, got a chance to experience that commitment first hand.

"So many members and area businesses insisted on participating—donating to the silent auction, volunteering to help with the event—even if they couldn't ride for three hours," says Horwitch.

Indeed, one of Fowler's young students who's been a YAS member for the last year recently told her he considers community service to be part of what being a part of YAS is all about.

"Of course, I'm beyond proud to hear that," admits Fowler.

As for YAS working with ThinkCure in the future, they've already become a sponsor of the new ThinkCure Bike Challenge on November 14.

Rosen is excited about future YAS fundraising in general: "As we add locations, we'll have a growing impact on causes we support. Partnering with YAS for charitable causes is a powerful thing."

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