Zumba Party in Pink benefit set for Saturday

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Paying tribute to the late Joy Hill-Watson, the third annual Party in Pink will be presented Saturday. Ongoing from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Zumbathon benefit will take place at the John H. Morgan Gymnasium on Aubrey Street in Cartersville.

“Party in Pink is actually a global fundraiser hosted by Zumba instructors and communities to raise money for the fight against breast cancer,” said Cartersville native Michele Strickland, who is serving as the event’s chairwoman. “When I became a Zumba instructor in 2013, I did it not only for the fun and empowering physical exercise

I knew it would provide me and my students, but I also did so because I knew the other benefits Zumba offered. So many women and men who participate in Zumba find a community that helps them build not only physical strength, but also the emotional and spiritual muscle they need to confront various types of life challenges.

“Be it a challenging weight loss journey, getting back on track with regular exercise, transitioning through a devastating divorce, managing the grief associated with losing a parent unexpectedly, building self-confidence or needing to relieve stress, Zumba provides an outlet and a community that allows people to face obstacles head on and live their best lives. In a few conversations I began having with some of our Zisters, Zumba sisters, I discovered that a number of them had fought or like me had a loved one who battled or was currently battling breast cancer. Given this, I thought it important for us to host an official Zumba Party in Pink event. The event became a way to continue to celebrate the strength of the women in my class and the women in their lives.”

While generating funds for the Susan G. Komen organization and The Hope Center Foundation, the Party in Pink will be filled with various activities, from breakfast to a Latin basic steps class.

“At the end of our party, we will honor and pay tribute to all those who have fought breast and other forms of cancer by having a gallery walk of our Warrior Wall recognizing those who battled courageously, celebrating the survivors and encouraging those still in the fight.”

Calling Hill-Watson “incredibly instrumental” in the initial party’s success, Strickland is passionate about presenting this year’s event in her memory. Hill-Watson, who died May 29 at the age of 49, was well known for her community service efforts, some of which included being the curator of the Noble Hill-Wheeler Memorial Center and the Summer Hill Heritage Museum, a coordinator for the Cartersville branch of “Go Girl Go” Inc., member of St. Luke A.M.E. Church and the editor of OurSay Magazine from January 2004 to 2010.

According to a news release from the event’s organizers, “Through this Zumbathon charity event, we will celebrate and honor our friends and family navigating breast cancer — one shuffle at a time. All support raised will benefit Susan G. Komen and The Hope Center Foundation of Cartersville. This year’s [proceeds] will be donated in memory of Ms. Joy LaDawn Hill, a beloved leader in the Cartersville and Bartow County community. During her 49 years, Joy [led] and participated in a number of community programs that empowered women and children. She, herself, was a Zumba enthusiast and left an indelible mark on countless citizens and agencies in our municipality. We will honor her by taking action to raise funds for research and assist those fighting the disease.”

The Party in Pink will be no charge for participants who donate at least $10 for the event’s beneficiaries.

For more information, call Strickland at 404-955-8734 or D’von Morgan, 678-231-3738.