Laura Mikszan, co-owner and operator of Envision Health Studio alongside fitness expert Stacy Ward, is hosting a “Burpees for Bowman” fundraiser to help pay for the young woman’s medical bills and recovery following a hit-and-run accident Feb. 16 in Athens.
Bowman has been in rehabilitation therapy at The Shepherd Center since being moved from Athens Regional Hospital March 8.
The event will be Saturday at the World Campus, 101 Victoria N. Court, in Woodstock across from Hobgood Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with burpee challenges each hour.
Mikszan said her daughter, Sharon, played basketball with Bowman at Woodstock High School and she wanted to find a way to help the Bowman family.
“Shannon has been down to (Shepherd Center) to see her a lot,” Mikszan said. “She’s been doing better.”
During the event, members of the health studio will perform the full-body exercises, also known as squat thrusts, for donations. Ahead of the competition, each member will get monetary pledges from friends or family for each burpee they complete in one minute and Envision will match the funds raised.
“We’re just trying to really get people to use fitness to help out,” Ward said.
Woodstock Mayor Donnie Henriques will kick off the event and be joined by other local officials, including members of local police and fire departments and Cherokee County Manager Jerry Cooper, who said he will do a few burpees for the cause.
“I just don’t know how many burpees I think I can do, but I will do as many as physically possible,” Cooper said.
Besides the burpee challenge, there will be “Pray for Emily” T-shirts, bracelets and bows for sale as well as other retail vendors donating profits, a raffle, a children’s obstacle course and an Easter egg hunt with donations for Emily in each egg.
Also, there will be a craft table for people to make get well cards for Bowman.
Ward, also a best-selling author, said the event is part of Envision’s “Get Fit, Give Back” initiative.
“As part of our program each month, we offer a community outreach program,” Ward said. “For my clients, we try to inspire them to use fitness as a platform to do different kinds community outreach by partnering with a charity or nonprofit.”
Ward said burpees are one exercise that everyone — not just her clients — truly hate doing.
“But it’s encouraging to them because the more burpees they do, the more money they can raise,” Ward said.
Anna Lee Strickland, Emily’s friend and a Kennesaw State University public relations major, said she’s going to visit Emily this weekend after the event.
“They mostly want her to get rest because she’s doing so much therapy,” she said of Bowman’s family. “(Her family) is just happy that she’s making improvements and so far therapy seems to be going well, but they still have their concerns and it’s a lot to take in. We are definitely trying to stay positive for her and around her because that will help her progress and improvements with everything.”
Mikszan said any other companies or individuals willing to help with the fundraiser can contact her at (770) 926-4180.