Spirit of JacksonvilleREAD ONLINE
Cabot residents ‘glow’ to support local boyOriginally Published September 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated September 4, 2013 at 11:49 a.m.
CABOT — Zumba fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into an exhilarating dance-fitness sensation, according to the program’s website, but Kristy Stewart and Kristy McElroy are fusing something else with their love of Zumba — community service.
Stewart and McElroy, along with three other Zumba instructors from the Cabot area, are hosting a Glow Party to raise money for the Huffmasters, a Cabot family, and their efforts to get an assistance dog to accompany their son, Ben, who is autistic.
“[Ben’s mother, Jody Huffmaster] visited one of my Zumba classes and started talking about getting a dog for her son,” McElroy said.
After talking to Huffmaster just once, McElroy and her fellow instructors wanted to help make a difference in Ben’s life.
McElroy and Stewart began talking and decided they had to do something to raise money for the assistance dog, which is expensive. The animal itself comes at a cost of $13,000, not including travel expenses for the dog trainers when they bring the dog to Cabot from California.
Huffmaster said she was “blown away” when McElroy told her the Zumba instructors wanted to organize a fundraiser for Ben.
“I was amazed,” Huffmaster said. “I had only gone to one Zumba session, and then the next one I went to, they told me.
“They wanted to put forth all this time, and they had just met me.”
McElroy said she and Stewart were trying to figure out what they could do to raise money, and they decided to put together a Glow Party.
“Everyone in Cabot has shown support, and everyone wants to help,” Stewart said.
For the Glow Party, Stewart said, participants are asked to wear neon or white clothing and carry glow sticks with them as they do Zumba routines while surrounded by black lights.
The party will last for two hours, and people can Zumba for the entire time if they desire.
“We’re going to have five instructors with a time slot,” Stewart said. “With Zumba, there’s not a right or a wrong way to do it. It’s lots of fun.”
Stewart said participants don’t have to be in perfect shape to do Zumba.
“Everyone is going to be there for the same reason — to have fun and help [the Huffmasters],” she said.
Huffmaster said she and her children are excited about the party, and she is overwhelmed with the support she has received from the Cabot community and even from around the world.
“There was someone in Australia who has helped us,” Huffmaster said. “You hear all the bad stories from around the world, and [receiving support from the community] restores your faith in humanity.”
The Zumba Glow Party for Ben Huffmaster will be from 7-9 p.m. Friday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 163 Mount Carmel Road in Cabot, with registration starting at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $20 per person, and child care is provided for $2 per child per hour at the church. More information about the Huffmaster family is available at www.abuddyforben.com.
Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-399-3664 or firstname.lastname@example.org.